The State Audit Committee did not accept the report of the Supreme Audit Office (NIK) on aid provided to companies during the COVID-19 pandemic. The document points to irregularities in the activities of, among others, the Polish Development Fund (PFR). According to the head of PFR, Paweł Borys, the Fund had 19 days to implement the program, and thanks to the help, 90 percent of companies maintained employment.
During the committee meeting, MPs heard information from the Supreme Audit Office on the results of the audit entitled: “Effects of selected state actions taken to mitigate the effects of the epidemic in the economy.”
The Commission did not accept the Supreme Audit Office’s report on aid for companies during the pandemic
As pointed out by Michał Jędrzejczyk, vice-president of the Supreme Audit Office, the audit revealed irregularities in the activities of both the Polish Development Fund and the Ministry of Development and Technology, as well as voivodeship and marshal labor offices. The deputy head of the Supreme Audit Office admitted that state aid granted to enterprises contributed to improving the situation in companies, but – as he noted – “with the involvement of such large funds, due care was not taken to ensure their optimal use.”
One of the allegations presented by the Supreme Audit Office was that the Minister of Development and Technology “unauthorizedly transferred some of the administrative powers to the PFR.” It was indicated that the provisions of the agreement between PFR released the company from liability for non-performance or improper performance of tasks.
According to the Supreme Audit Office, the agreement primarily secured the interests of PFR and not the interests of the State Treasury. An example was the lack of links between PFR remuneration and the effects of activities, e.g. the number of supported companies. Moreover, it was pointed out, no expiry date of the contract between PFR and the Ministry of Energy was specified, which makes it impossible to precisely determine the costs of anti-Covid shields. The calculations presented by the Ministry of Energy and Technology show that as of September 30 last year. PFR remuneration amounted to PLN 817 million 130 thousand. zloty.
The president of PFR, Paweł Borys, who participated in the committee meeting, did not agree with the Supreme Audit Office’s allegations. He emphasized that the Supreme Audit Office presented a descriptive assessment in its report, not supported by data. He recalled that in March and April 2020, alarming data regarding the spread of the pandemic and the consequences for entrepreneurs, employees and the state were received from companies, various research institutions and experts.
– We had 19 days to prepare and implement the program – he said. He noted that thanks to the aid provided (approx. PLN 76 billion), 90 percent companies maintained employment, and Poland recorded one of the lowest levels of unemployment in the EU.
Borys also disagreed with the accusation of inadequate remuneration. He recalled that the value of aid provided by the state amounted to approximately 8%. GDP, which is the amount of average support in the EU. The President of PFR also expressed his readiness to sign an annex to the agreement with the Ministry of Energy and Technology.
The chairman of the committee, Marek Sawicki (PSL-TD), submitted a motion “not to accept the Supreme Audit Office’s report and to close the meeting.” The proposal was adopted by the committee by vote.
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