Gov't adopts bill extending economic zones to whole of Poland

The Polish government on Tuesday approved draft legislation which extends the country's special economic zones (SSEs), where entrepreneurs enjoy tax preferences, to the whole of Poland.

Set up in 1994, the SSEs currently span 0.08 percent of Polish territory. They were originally designed to stimulate investment and eliminate high structural unemployment. At the end of 2016, there were 2,263 valid permits issued for conducting economic activity in SSEs, with investors having injected PLN 112.3 billion (EUR 27.1 billion) into them and employing over 332,000 staff.

Under the new bill on state support for new investments, tax breaks - until now offered by SSEs - will be available wherever economic activity can be conducted.

"The aim of the changes is to expand the offer of attractive investment sites for potential investors," the Ministry of Entrepreneurship and Technology explained in a statement.

Tax preferences will now be dependent on three criteria: the project's location, its nature and the quality of new jobs to be created.

"Thanks to these three clear criteria," Tadeusz Koscinski, the deputy minister for entrepreneurship and technology, said, "the potential of the whole country will be utilised."

For example, there will be a premium on projects in medium-sized towns, which have been losing their economic and social importance.

Jadwiga Emilewicz, who is in charge of the Ministry, noted the bill was designed to "better attract small and medium-sized companies, which have had little representation in the SSEs till now."

Koscinski said the Ministry of Entrepreneurship and Technology expected the bill to pass through parliament in the first quarter of 2018, "so that as soon as the second quarter begins, entrepreneurs can make use of the advantages."