Polish PM announces business, social reforms at political convention

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, speaking at a political convention of the ruling Law and Justice party and the United Right camp in Warsaw on Saturday, announced a range of pro-business and pro-social reforms.

PM Morawiecki unveiled his government's plan to cut the corporate income tax (CIT) for small and medium-sized companies to 9 percent from 15 percent.

"We've been carrying out all the social and business initiatives thanks to plugging loopholes in the VAT (collection) system and economic growth. Early last year we reduced CIT to 15 percent from 19 percent," the prime minister said.

He went on to stress that after the move, CIT takings increased by 13 percent.

Small companies are also set to benefit from lower social security (ZUS) contributions, according to Morawiecki, who said this would help to pull some companies out of the grey economy.

"We want every schoolchild to (...) to receive PLN 300 as a school benefit before every school year until the age of 18," Mateusz Morawiecki announced.

"It is yet another great and important element of our social programme - there will be no conditions, it will be applicable to all parents," the PM went on to say.

The prime minister also announced further projects addressed to senior citizens and the disabled under the government's "Accessibility Plus" programme and went on to say that "over the next few years" the government would provide PLN 23 bln (EUR 5.5 bln) for the scheme.

In the near future, the government will also present an additional minimum pension for women who "are not entitled to the minimum pension despite reaching the retirement age and have had at least four children."

The prime minister also announced the creation of a new fund for local roads, with close to PLN 1.5 bln (EUR 360 mln) earmarked for this purpose this year. Over the next 18 months, the government plans to secure PLN 5 bln (EUR 1.2 bln) for local roads.

Turning to housing policy, Morawiecki said that the construction of some 100,000 residential units under the government's "Home Plus" programme will be underway in 2019.

The head of government also said his agriculture minister will soon present a comprehensive programme for farmers to help them bypass middlemen in selling their produce.

To mark Poland's 100th independence anniversary, all public administration buildings will fly national flags from May 2, Poland's Flag Day, until the end of the year, he also annouced.

PM Morawiecki appealed for unity in the ruling United Right camp as he referred to a nationwide road trip by the ruling politicians ahead of the local election scheduled for this autumn.

Stressing the achievements in VAT tax collection, which helped the government finance its social programmes, PM Morawiecki said that "in 2017 alone, the National Tax Administration retrieved not a single million, but 30 billion zlotys, more than (the cost of) the 500 Plus (monthly child benefit scheme - PAP), more than our various social programmes."

Poland has played "an increasingly important role" in the EU and its partners show increasing respect towards Warsaw, Morawiecki said, quoting such achievements as averting the threat of a potential separate budget for the euro zone and receiving the green light from the European Commission to impose tax on shopping malls and office complexes.

"There is one Poland and I believe it will be victorious. We will be victorious," the prime minister concluded.