Wednesday, 29 April 2020

PM Plenkovic, Take Care of Parafiscal Charges, Seasonal Employers and Workers, Loans for Groups at Risk

April 29, 2020 - Glas Poduzetnika suggested the measures for May to the Croatian Prime Minister -take care of parafiscal charges, seasonal employers and workers, and loans for groups at risk.

The May package of measures should respond to open questions that were not addressed in the April set of measures, and finally to solve the problem of parafiscal charges that burden the economy with nine billion kunas per year.

In the first two weeks since its foundation, the Glas Poduzetnika Association approved membership requests to 9,000 members, entrepreneurs, self-employed and physical persons, thus having become the largest unforced association of employers and entrepreneurs in Croatia. The goal of the Association is to provide the welfare not only to its members and their employees but also to the Croatian economy and society in full. The Association has short-term, mid-term, and long-term goals, addressing them through concrete demands and measures that they propose to the competent institutions.

"Yesterday, we sent Prime Minister Plenkovic the requirements for the measures to be included in the May package, along with the main measures that will allow the future sustainable development of the Croatian economy and society," said Hrvoje Bujas, President of the Glas Poduzetnika Association. "Since the Prime Minister did not respond to the previous requests of the Glas Poduzetnika Association, including the open letter that we sent on 17th April 2020, we believe that we still need to make requests through the media. Our demands are necessary for the survival and development of the economy, entrepreneurship, and society as a whole."

The Association's demands addressed to Prime Minister Plenkovic for six measures to be defined by the May package are the following:

  • Permanent cancellation of all parafiscal charges, including the introduction of voluntary membership in HGK, HOK, and HTZ
  • VAT payments upon the invoice collection should be a permanent measure for all companies. What we have now is only a temporary measure until 20th June, and there is a risk that Tax Authorities will start with the charge the VAT on 20th June, regardless of whether the entrepreneur will collect the invoice or not, and it can create a lot of problems for them.
  • Moratorium on loans and leasings form 6 to 18 months as needed, with minimal (up to 1%) interests for the mentioned period for all entrepreneurs, self-employed, and citizens at risk.
  • Including the seasonal self-employed and seasonal workers in the set of measures
  • Availability of COVID-19 loans to small accommodation providers, which they need to survive until the next tourist season
  • Termination of inspectors' repression—State Inspectorate has to be advisory body first, and then repressive (and not only repressive as it is now), with clear and unambiguous rules of treatment. They should issue warnings for minor mistakes instead of giving fines, with a reasonable deadline to correct the irregularities.

Also, non-related to the May set of measures, the Association demands to initiate activities in the following areas as soon as possible:

  • Reduction and reorganization of public administration and local governments as well as reduction of tax and non-tax charges for economy
  • Full transparency of revenues and expenditures of all state administration and local government bodies, as well as public firms
  • Digitalization and automation of the processes and services of entrepreneurs and citizens that are essential for progress and ensure global competitiveness
  • Improving the effectiveness of the judiciary system through digitalization and ensuring its depoliticization and independency

***

The GLAS PODUZETNIKA Initiative started as a citizens' self-organized group, most of which are small entrepreneurs, after the announcement of the first set of Government's measures, which the organizers deemed insufficient. The Initiative assembled more than 100,000 entrepreneurs, small business owners, self-employed, and the employees in the private sector in less than 15 days, drawing the media spotlight with its uncompromising requests and appearances. Considering this, GLAS PODUZETNIKA positioned itself as a relevant factor in public discussions aimed to determine Croatia's new economic direction. Its position was also confirmed by the Government of the Republic of Croatia, has included some of the Initiative's suggestions in the second set of economic measures, thus confirming Initiative's undeniable influence. At the request of the initiative's members, the GLAS PODUZETNIKA Association was established, gathering more than 9,000 members in two weeks since its foundation. More than 120,000 Croatian citizens support the Association.

For the latest from the Glas Poduzetnika initiative, follow the dedicated TCN section

You can also join the 55,000+ people in the Glas Poduzetnika Facebook group.

Wednesday, 29 April 2020

Beware the Croatian Inspector: 4. Now You Have Nothing

April 29, 2020 - Beware the Croatian inspector - a new series courtesy of Glas Poduzetnika (Voice of Entrepreneurs), highlighting a Croatian business reality that helps kill growth, profit, and entrepreneurship. Now you have nothing.

I have seen them operating all over the country over the last 18 years, the most feared visitors to Croatia's cafes, restaurants, and other businesses - the Croatian inspector. 

As with many corrupt countries, the role of the inspector should be to make sure that the rules are being adhered to in the particular area they specialise in - sanitary, fiscal, etc - but in reality, the prime motivation is to find ways to fill the State coffers and their own. Allegedly. 

I heard SO many stories of inspections where perfectly run businesses end up paying thousands in fines, some of it justified, much of it grossly unfair. And there is an old truism here:

If the Croatian inspector comes to visit, he will find something, even if there is nothing there. 

It is a subject that I have wanted to cover for years, but I never had quite the right material. Until now. 

Huge thanks to those very proactive chaps at Glas Poduzetnika, who are really becoming a force for change to be reckoned with. A really great initiative. In one of their latest moves, they have been collecting some of their members' experiences with the Croatian inspector, to highlight the issue and the realities of doing business in Beautiful Croatia.

Story #4: Now You Have Nothing

Since we were a relatively small business management company based in the vicinity of Zagreb, one of our clients opened an outdoor kiosk selling food-to-go in Split and Dubrovnik. A few days before opening, he received a list of Minimal Technical Conditions compliance cases from the local municipality. The list included a fire-proof suit for chefs, communal noise testing, an evacuation plan in written and graphic form, research of a space compromised by an explosive atmosphere, and obtaining an energy certificate.

Next to each item, there were handwritten details of those who were selling and testing all given things. Of course, it was a company that leads Dalmatia in the sector, giving a 30% commission to the Inspectorate and the given person. Public secret. After reading it, we were in shock. We thought that someone had replaced the location or the owner, so we, entirely anonymously, contacted the local municipality and asked about the prices per item, and if someone else could do that.

We received a reply that no one else in Croatia has the right to do this and that altogether the cost per premise is about 80,000 kn. We called them 24 h later, introduced ourselves, asked for a written legal ground, and made the remark regarding one of the added companies. The person we talked to said that someone wrote it down wrong, that they don't do the particular activity, and to disregard all that was requested except the fire blanket, the extinguisher and testing the electrical installations, and confirmed the same in the e-mail.

A few days later, three inspectors come to our company address, asking for work permits, all documents, contracts, asking why we work outside of the County of Zagreb, because that is not common, and we would have problems. After asking what the issues were, we received a response in the form of a report that we do not have work permits from the Ministry of Economy although we had the same as everyone else, which we showed along with the originals that "the gentlemen" cut out in 100 pieces, threw around the office and said,

"Now you have nothing."

We got a 150,000 kn fine, or we could pay 20,000 kn to each of them on the spot. We didn't pay anything, we reported being harassed by the inspectors and everything else. A few days before the hearing, we received a notice that they had withdrawn the claim. We also learned that this was not the first time, so from the top inspector's seat, they were sitting a little lower in another district, but still doing the same as before.

Beware the Croatian Inspector is a new daily series (yes, there really is that much material) which you can follow here.

If you have a Croatian inspector story you would like to share with the Glas Poduzetnika team (in English or Croatian), you can do so via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Subject TCN inspector. 

You can follow the 55,000+ others on the Glas Poduzetnika Facebook page

Tuesday, 28 April 2020

Glas Poduzetnika Survey on Croatian Entrepreneurs' Voting Potential

Zagreb, 28th April 2020 - In the work of Association so far, many politicians reached out to us with questions, suggestions, and support. The Glas Poduzetnika Association minimized any direct relations with any political option because we do not want anyone collecting their political points through this initiative.

Of course, everyone is invited to support our clear agenda and all demands that take us to Croatia 2.0. We've been communicating from the beginning, despite the wishes of some of our members, that direct involvement in politics is not in our plans and that we are a supra-party organization that cares about the welfare of the entire private sector, entrepreneurs and their employees. It is for this reason that we believe that we have a very high homogeneity of our members. We wanted to assess what their political potential is in terms of the preponderance they could have in the polls by voting for the party or parties that publicly accept and support or implement our demands. We asked them, "Do you regularly participate in polls?"

These are their answers:

The most significant number of them—82% regularly go to the elections, and a reasonable assumption is that they will be active in the upcoming elections. The second group of almost 13% of entrepreneurs is very interesting. They say that until now, they did not vote regularly, but this time they will participate. About 5% of them do not go to the polls, and some because they do not believe that they can change anything.

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Entrepreneur's voting potential

I regularly go to the polls

I did not go to the polls regularly until now, but I will participate in the upcoming elections

I don't believe I can change anything with my participation/vote

I do not go to the polls

Given these results, it is clear that entrepreneurs will play an essential role in the upcoming elections. Partly because of the relatively passive voters so far, and another part because of the highly motivated majority that this time votes directly for their survival, through parties that will have sufficient will and power to meet the demands of the Glas Poduzetnika Association—lower taxes, less parafiscal charges, a more efficient judicial system and a clear path to rapid digitalization of the state.

 

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For the latest from the Glas Poduzetnika initiative, follow the dedicated TCN section

You can also join the 55,000+ people in the Glas Poduzetnika Facebook group.

Tuesday, 28 April 2020

Beware the Croatian Inspector: 3. They Barged in Like Cowboys

April 28, 2020 - Beware the Croatian inspector - a new series courtesy of Glas Poduzetnika (Voice of Entrepreneurs), highlighting a Croatian business reality that helps kill growth, profit, and entrepreneurship. 

I have seen them operating all over the country over the last 18 years, the most feared visitors to Croatia's cafes, restaurants, and other businesses - the Croatian inspector. 

As with many corrupt countries, the role of the inspector should be to make sure that the rules are being adhered to in the particular area they specialise in - sanitary, fiscal, etc - but in reality, the prime motivation is to find ways to fill the State coffers and their own. Allegedly. 

I heard SO many stories of inspections where perfectly run businesses end up paying thousands in fines, some of it justified, much of it grossly unfair. And there is an old truism here:

If the Croatian inspector comes to visit, he will find something, even if there is nothing there. 

It is a subject that I have wanted to cover for years, but I never had quite the right material. Until now. 

Huge thanks to those very proactive chaps at Glas Poduzetnika, who are really becoming a force for change to be reckoned with. A really great initiative. In one of their latest moves, they have been collecting some of their members' experiences with the Croatian inspector, to highlight the issue and the realities of doing business in Beautiful Croatia.

Story #3: They barged in like cowboys 

They barged in my salon on 13th November 2019 like cowboys, I thought they would rob me for a moment... They introduced themselves, showed badges, and started splitting hairs. The documents were almost all in order, I didn't have the minimum technical conditions document (when I just opened it I didn't need to, made a million calls, of course, after a year I completely forgot about it). And they are not really needed, because the law states that my activity of selling hair care products does NOT require it because it is implied if someone likes shampoo or any other product that I have used or recommended that I sell. Still, they say they have nothing to do with it, it is an economic activity (verbally they advised me to make this minimal conditions document, and put in the record that it is not needed).

Cash register, printing copies of bills from that day because there was no way to pull out the tape Z just for that day since my accountant told me that I do it monthly, not daily. They started to add up the bills. It was interesting when the inspector put 40.00 kn down as 50.00 kn. She claimed that it was 50.00, and I know it was 40.00, trying to explain to her that the discount was 20% and that 40.00 was clearly stated (I don't know if it was intentional or accidental). She finally understood, and we moved on to counting the money, and of course, everything was in order... She angrily said to her colleague, "YOU SEE"... I don't know what that was supposed to mean, but whatever, I thought everything is OK, they will leave... That was a screw-up on my side, I thought wrong, as I said, they were splitting hairs...

As I closed the box that contains the cash register, she saw the box under it, asked me to open it, and I did... My wallet was in there (I asked the accountant if I could put it there she said I could, I believed her because she used to work in Fina) she asked me to open it. When I made it clear that was MY PERSONAL WALLET, she said, I quote: "It doesn't matter, everything that is on the business premises belongs to the business premises!!" (There is no logic at all in this because if this was the case, she could have also asked the customer's wallet and sum it up with the cash register. If this is the case, then I also have the right to dig through bags, jackets, and everything on the premises, so there is really no logic.)

So I opened it. I only had the coins in my wallet, no other personal money, just the coins. Considering that the Z tape was pulled monthly, and with the money in the wallet, she didn't know what else to do... For the next half an hour, she was calling everyone around, and I started crying. That was something I created with my husband, with my own hands, without loans, just with the savings and hard work. I thought it was over, that they would ban me from working (they hinted so discreetly). A colleague told her since this was the first time and such a situation to let me go with a warning, but her response was "I WON'T" (she will get what she wants).

Meanwhile, she asked for my ID. She took a photo of it, wrote down all the information and said they will go to the office, that they were not sure what to do with me. They left, maybe they will seize the money, maybe close me up, they didn't know. As I was collecting the documents, I noticed that my ID wasn't there, she duly took my ID with her. They were gone for two hours, and I was afraid to call the police and tell them about what she had done. Given their behavior, I didn't want to offend them, and I've already heard that they are, so to speak, on their own... When they got back, she gave me back my ID and said that I HAD to sign the papers. I, an ignorant fool, did so because she told me. When I was supposed to write the statement, she said it was not needed, as it wouldn't have been accepted anyway (at that moment, but later, it was good that I wrote it, because it can be taken into consideration later).

The report stated that the surplus was found in the cash register, and it wasn't. The same report stated the wrong OIB (PIN) and the incorrect address, which I noted afterward. There were other irregularities, too, that I can't remember right now. For the record, I am not in the VAT system, and I don't have to give out invoices. It's worth more to payout myself what was lent than to give out an invoice. From that day on, I don't know what I am dealing with. I don't know what the fine will be. The difference between the money in the wallet and in the cash register was only 1.5%. I did not receive anything, no decision, no misdemeanor order, absolutely nothing. I can't describe the burden I've been living with since that day because I don't know what fate would they create for me.

Beware the Croatian Inspector is a new daily series (yes, there really is that much material) which you can follow here.

If you have a Croatian inspector story you would like to share with the Glas Poduzetnika team (in English or Croatian), you can do so via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Subject TCN inspector. 

You can follow the 55,000+ others on the Glas Poduzetnika Facebook page

Monday, 27 April 2020

Emergency measures for survival of the Croatian event industry

Zagreb, 27th April 2020—The Event Committee of the Glas Poduzetnika Association has sent four emergency measures to the Ministries of Culture, Tourism, and Economy. These measures are crucial for the survival of the Croatian event industry threatened by the prohibition of public gatherings.

Four suggestions have been sent to the addresses of minister Obuljen Korzinek, and ministers Horvat and Capelli for the beginning of the fight to save the industry that brings more than 4.5 billion kunas of income per year:

  1. Urgent adoption of the plan for the release of measures prohibiting the public gatherings—especially for events of 100, 500, and 1000 or more visitors. The Association believes that small events, up to 100 people, can get started as soon as possible, given that they are no more risky than, for example, large stores, religious gatherings, and similar. With this in mind, it is necessary to determine the expected protection measures at public gatherings so that collaborators in the event industry can begin to prepare adequately. Besides, we are asking for an urgent announcement of the date before which events of more than 1000 people will certainly not be allowed, so that the organizers have a legal basis for postponing or canceling the event and minimizing incurred costs.
  1. Extension of the Croatian Employment Service measures—for the most affected companies in the event industry to additional 3+3 months, in total 3+3+3+3. Eligible companies would have a traffic decline of more than 70% in the referent three-month period compared to the same three-month period last year.
  1. Expansion of the voucher system to event tickets—changes that are already integrated with article 38a of the Act on Provision of Tourism Services regarding the possibility of issuing vouchers, or delayed refunds for packages, to include the event tickets (concerts, festivals, conferences), given that event organizers are compromised in the same way and dealing with the same non-liquidity problem. We suggest that the issued voucher can be used in 365 days from the day of the postponed event for that or other events by the same organizer, and if that doesn't work for the customer, they can get a refund in 30 days from the expiration of 365 days from the postponed event.
  1. Loosening of the conditions for HAMAG COVID-19 loans for small companies—the extension of the period of using the credits from 6 to 12 months, expanding the fund for HBOR COVID-19 loans, and modifying the conditions to include all activities at risk.

The Croatian event industry, more precisely companies and self-employed that live directly from various forms of public gatherings, counts around 2,000 entities that employ 10,000 people and whose revenue is more than 4.5 billion kunas per year, as mentioned above. Adding the tourist consumption, income from overnight stays, hospitality and all other directly related income, this revenue gets a few times higher than mentioned numbers—it becomes clear that the event industry is one of the crucial parts of Croatian tourism, but also the economy, culture, and society in whole.

The Event Committee is a separate group within the Glas Poduzetnika Association. It includes the most prominent Croatian representatives of the event industry and organizers of the most popular domestic festivals, concerts, conferences, and parties. The Glas Poduzetnika Association is the leading representative of micro, small and medium-size entrepreneurs, self-employed, and skilled trades professionals counting over 8,000 members. They are all gathered around the mutual goal of fighting to save the economy, for more quality entrepreneurial ambient and long-term healthier and more quality society under the parole Croatia 2.0.

PR CONTACTS:

Berislav Marszalek

E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Mobile: 098 1656 865

Ivana Matic

E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Mobile: 091 1400 091

Links: WEB / FACEBOOK

For the latest from the Glas Poduzetnika initiative, follow the dedicated TCN section

You can also join the 55,000+ people in the Glas Poduzetnika Facebook group.

Monday, 27 April 2020

Glas Poduzetnika Survey on Changes in Legislation in Croatia

April 27, 2020 - The latest Glas Poduzetnika survey focuses on changes in legislation in Croatia.

Croatia is known in international circles as a country that changes its laws and subordinate legislation very often. That is a significant barrier for many foreign investors to decide to invest in Croatia or, for those who are already here, to stay. Of course, the speed and lack of clarity of all these rules, in particular, harm the work of all domestic entrepreneurs, who must deal with a mass of unclear, trackless, and often contradictory documents. During this time, we saw that many decisions were made quickly, which then clumsily began to be implemented. With all this in mind, we asked our members a simple question, "Can you keep track of all legislative changes?"

We collected the following answers:

More than 71% say very clearly that they don't follow them because there are too many of them. With them, almost 21% admit that for the majority of legislative acts, they don't even know that they were accepted. About 6% believe they are somewhat tracking them through accounting and other professional services. An alarming less than 1% said they know and follow all the latest regulations.

 

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Do you manage to keep track of all changes to legislative requirements?

No, there’s too many

No, for most of them I don’t even know they were implemented

To a certain extent, through accounting and similar services

Yes, I know them all

Other

These results clearly show that it is practically impossible to conduct business with this forest of rules. Every company would need considerable resources to invest in keeping track of any changes that occur now and then. Failure to do so opens various doors, for inspections of all kinds to punish them as they wish. The Glas Poduzetnika Association stands for Croatia 2.0, where everything will be digitalized, and where there will be more justice and less administration that hinders business and the work of the private sector. One of the newest requirements that we have instructed is that for every newly adopted regulation, two old rules get annulled. This way, we want to simplify the legal framework and make it easier for everyone in Croatia to apply it.

For the latest from the Glas Poduzetnika initiative, follow the dedicated TCN section

You can also join the 55,000+ people in the Glas Poduzetnika Facebook group.

Monday, 27 April 2020

Beware the Croatian Inspector: 2. Worker, Not Employee!

April 27, 2020 - Beware the Croatian inspector - a new series courtesy of Glas Poduzetnika (Voice of Entrepreneurs), highlighting a Croatian business reality that helps kill growth, profit, and entrepreneurship. 

I have seen them operating all over the country over the last 18 years, the most feared visitors to Croatia's cafes, restaurants, and other businesses - the Croatian inspector. 

As with many corrupt countries, the role of the inspector should be to make sure that the rules are being adhered to in the particular area they specialise in - sanitary, fiscal, etc - but in reality, the prime motivation is to find ways to fill the State coffers and their own. Allegedly. 

I heard SO many stories of inspections where perfectly run businesses end up paying thousands in fines, some of it justified, much of it grossly unfair. And there is an old truism here:

If the Croatian inspector comes to visit, he will find something, even if there is nothing there. 

It is a subject that I have wanted to cover for years, but I never had quite the right material. Until now. 

Huge thanks to those very proactive chaps at Glas Poduzetnika, who are really becoming a force for change to be reckoned with. A really great initiative. In one of their latest moves, they have been collecting some of their members' experiences with the Croatian inspector, to highlight the issue and the realities of doing business in Beautiful Croatia. 

Story #2: Worker, Not Employee!

So, the story goes back to 2008. The labor inspector came to the company, and after full few-week supervision, she found no irregularities. However, she searched for illegal workers, working hours records, overtime payments, registrations, sign-offs, payslips, etc. After she found nothing, because we are working 100% per the law, she nevertheless got hooked to one thing. In particular, the employment contract stated that it was concluded with "an employee" Pero Peric (a fictional name).

We received a misdemeanor charge because, in the employment contract, we wrote that the contract was concluded with an employee, while it should have been "with a worker." She also told us that according to the labor law, the employment contract must be written in Croatian, and the word employee is not a Croatian word (?!?) but Russian. And that was why she was going to take us to court.

Imagine, we went to court because of some unintentional mistake that is so benign, harmless, and insignificant. Wasting time, resources, and nerves. We had to correct all the employment contracts and write the term "employee" correctly, i.e., replace it with the word "worker." This is just one example! We have more.

Beware the Croatian Inspector is a new daily series (yes, there really is that much material) which you can follow here.

If you have a Croatian inspector story you would like to share with the Glas Poduzetnika team (in English or Croatian), you can do so via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Subject TCN inspector. 

You can follow the 55,000+ others on the Glas Poduzetnika Facebook page

Sunday, 26 April 2020

Beware the Croatian Inspector: 1. Of Diving Suits and Fish Hooks

April 26, 2020 - Beware the Croatian inspector - a new series courtesy of Glas Poduzetnika (Voice of Entrepreneurs), highlighting a Croatian business reality which helps kill growth, profit and entrepreneurship. 

I have seen them operating all over the country over the last 18 years, the most feared visitors to Croatia's cafes, restaurants and other businesses - the Croatian inspector. 

As with many corrupt countries, the role of the inspector should be to make sure that the rules are being adhered to in the particular area they specialise in - sanitary, fiscal etc - but in reality, the prime motivation is to find ways to fill the State coffers, and their own. Allegedly. 

I heard SO many stories of inspections where perfectly run businesses end up paying thousands in fines, some of it justified, much of it grossly unfair. And there is an old truism here:

If the Croatian inspector comes to visit, he will find something, even if there is nothing there. 

It is a subject that I have wanted to cover for years, but I never had quite the right material. Until now. 

Huge thanks to those very proactive chaps at Glas Poduzetnika, who are really becoming a force for change to be reckoned with. A realy great initiative. In one of their latest moves, they have been collecting some of their members' experiences with the Croatian inspector, to highlight the issue, and the realities of doing business in The Beautiful Croatia. 

Let's begin!  

Story #1: Fishing In Muddy Waters

I had a company that was engaged in wholesale, retail, and manufacturing of fishing and diving equipment for 25 years. We were supplying more than 70 stores throughout Croatia. This year we decided to close everything. This decision was quite difficult to make, and it was done with a lot of thinking, whether to continue working in conditions of legal uncertainty, where the inspector creates the fate, not according to the law, but according to his own taste.

Here's an example: An inspector asks me how do we declare diving suits. I answer, "The same way freight forwarder marks them—as sports equipment." He explains that the diving suit can also be described as protective equipment. As such, I should have received materials attestations made by the Bureau of Metrology and Wasting Time (imagine a product that has all European certificates but must be additionally certified).

Then he says that even though he did not manage to find anything, why is it so that each hook does not have its proper declaration if they are sold per piece. I said that the declaration was on the box, as it could not fit on the hook. The inspector writes down the report and a misdemeanor charge, that did not go through at the court, but it took me nerves and two working days to sort out. The other piece of work comes to my warehouse and finds that we did not comply with the minimal technical requirements, as those were in the making.

The guy tells us that we should not have worked without it and that he is sealing the company, taking all the profits from the beginning of the year, and taking all the goods found in the warehouse. It took about 20 days until the case reached court. Imagine what it's like to live in fear for 20 days that everything you've worked for in the last 20 years will be confiscated because of a single paper that is in the process of being created. When we came to the court, the judge couldn't believe the inspector's reason to seal our company. She literally asked him if he was out of his mind and rejected the charge.

This is how our inspectors work. Punishing past laws and regulations because each of these sheriffs can interpret the law in any way they want. Needless to say, no one compensated us for the lost profits, let alone the nerves. I hope this will finally end and that our Association will win for us to stop feeling like criminals and second-class citizens.

Beware the Croatian Inspector is a new daily series (yes, there really is that much material) which you can follow here.

If you have a Croatian inspector story you would like to share with the Glas Poduzetnika team (in English or Croatian), you can do so via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Subject TCN inspector. 

You can follow the 55,000+ others on the Glas Poduzetnika Facebook page

Sunday, 26 April 2020

Glas Poduzetnika Survey on Level of Debt of Croatia's Entrepreneurs

April 26, 2020 - The latest Glas Poduzetnika (the Voice of Entrepreneurs survey in Croatia focuses on the level of debt its entrepreneurs. 

One of the puzzles of the Croatian entrepreneurs' image is also the exact information about the risk they take on, and on the level of exposure, they endure for their companies. On the outside, you will most often see income and profits, but the public rarely has a clear perception of their financial model and about what do they have to comply with for the company to function successfully. One of the interesting criteria, although somewhat complicated, is the level of debt that each entrepreneur has. We wanted to get the information about this segment, even imperfect, so we asked them, "How would you assess the level of their company's debt?"

We collected the following answers:

Slightly less than the meager 8% said they are not in debt and that they have enough private property. Another 18.7% believe that if this situation continues, they will be in debt, although this is not currently the case. This segment stands a little bit better. In addition to them, we have more than 23% of entrepreneurs whose debts are average, and their liabilities are valued at half of the properties that they mostly financed themselves. To these, we add just under 7% of participants who say they are in significant debts and that most of the property was debt-funded. In addition to these all together 30% of entrepreneurs with debts (to a greater or lesser extent), we also have the largest category of more than 43% of participants who say that they are not in debt, but that they risked almost all private property for the business.

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The level of entrepreneurs’ debts

I am not in debt, but I risked almost all private property for the company
I am in medium-sized debt
I am not in debt, but if this continues I will be
I am almost completely free of debt, and I have enough private property
I am in significant debt 

We believe that this analysis gives a good idea of the realistic state that entrepreneurs are in. 43% of them risk that if this crisis drags on and there are no short-term quality measures, as well as long-term changes that will make business more manageable, they will lose everything they have. And 30% are already in serious debts, and any significant disruption and obstacle in business can push them over the edge. That data is consistent with all others, which warn that the already challenging state of the private sector is now even more compromised and that the consequences of inappropriate responses will be, as some have put it—of a biblical scale.

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For the latest from the Glas Poduzetnika initiative, follow the dedicated TCN section

You can also join the 55,000+ people in the Glas Poduzetnika Facebook group.

 

Friday, 24 April 2020

Glas Poduzetnika Publishes Recommendations for Croatian PM Plenkovic

April 24, 2020 - An English translation of the Glas Poduzetnika recommendations to Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic. 

Government Of The Republic Of Croatia

Trg Sv. Marka 2, 10000 Zagreb

Attn: Mr. Andrej Plenkovic, Prime Minister

Dear Prime Minister,

After the publication of the first set of measures proposed by the Government of Croatia, we started the initiative Glas Poduzetnika. The initiative brought together more than 100,000 entrepreneurs, self-employed, and employees in the private sector in less than 15 days of activity, and received a lot of media attention with its precise demands and appearances. Glas Poduzetnika established its position as a relevant factor in public discussions related to the determination of the new economic direction of Croatia thanks to enthusiasm, persistence, expertise, and commitment. The Government of Croatia has also confirmed its position by including some of the initiative's suggestions in their April set of measures. Some Ministers commended the recommendations and the attitude of Glas Poduzetnika in their public appearances that the Government took into consideration. And this is how we continue to move forward. At the request of the members, the initiative was formalized by creating the Glas Poduzetnika Association on 3rd April 2020, and which, as the official representative of its more than 100,000 members, will continue to actively fight for the rights of members and a faster return to economic growth. The goal of the Association is to provide the best not only for our members, entrepreneurs, and their employees but also for the Croatian economy and society in full. That would be done through specific demands and measures, to provide the necessary space in the short, medium and long term, and so that in the future we can continue even better and with higher quality. In the first two weeks since its founding, the Association approved membership to more than 6,000 members, entrepreneurs, and self-employed, employing nearly 40,000 permanent employees and collaborators.

We want to use this opportunity to ask you for the organization of a meeting where we could discuss a few vital subjects with you and your closest associates:

1) Implementation of existing economic measures

2) Contents of the third "May" package of measures

3) Economic recovery action plan

4) Long-term strategic goals for the development of Croatia

Please see in continuation the topics we would like to discuss in detail.

Add 1) Implementation of existing economic measures

  • • Remaining unclear categories of employers and employees in the private sector (seasonal self-employed, seasonal employees)
  • • Minimum wage compensation for directors and owners in companies with more than ten employees
  • • Will all local government units adjust the level of support for entrepreneurs in a crisis-write-off of rent and utility payments
  • • Will a write-off of interests on loans and leasings on an individual basis be possible, as per our recommendations
  • • Moratorium on foreclosures
  • • Resolving some edge situations our members found themselves in, and we will name only some examples

o Hotels in Sibenik and Vodice with 200 employees could not be included in the package of measures because of the debt and tax authority and the City of Sibenik blockade at the end of March

o The small entrepreneur who is engaged in trade, having a VAT over-payment of 9,000 kn and a 340 kn debt for membership to the HGK could not be included in the package of measures

o Plastic bag producers in sizes 15 to 50 microns—due to the decision of the Croatian Ministry of Environment and Energy 800 job posts could be lost

Add 2) Contents of the third "May" package of measures

We believe that the third package should necessarily lead to the abolition of various parafiscal charges, fees, and membership fees to chambers and communities.

We would also like to discuss the plans for the third set of measures with you.

Add 3) Economic recovery action plan

The Government's measures for help are not sustainable in the long-term and will create a massive pressure on the state budget. To reduce the burden and start the economy, it is necessary to ensure that economic activity continues as soon as possible. That is more important and less dangerous for the spread of the epidemic than the announced use of public transport. As the 30-day deadline is soon to expire and we believe that some measures will be relaxed, we would like to point to the most vulnerable group of small, micro-entrepreneurs and self-employed should undoubtedly be kept in mind, when reducing measures.

We believe that equality before the Constitution is guaranteed and that all entrepreneurs should be in the same position, of course, following the recommendations of the epidemiologists. It is not right for one group of entrepreneurs to explicitly forbid to work while it is possible for others, and often in the same or similar activity.

Civil Protection Crisis Committee's measures of protection that should be prescribed with the new decision are measures that need to be respected, and that should be possible to implement for small entrepreneurs because they were affected the most by closing. If stores that sell cosmetics and food for pets are allowed to open their doors, there is no reason for the stores selling clothes or computers not to be able to work. If newsstands can open, there is no reason for florists not to open. It is only necessary to follow the rules of the epidemiologists.

That is why we want to talk about how the Croatian Government and Civil Protection Crisis Committee should prescribe measures that do not discriminate per activities, and that all entrepreneurs should comply with if they want to work. We are looking for clear and unambiguous recommendations about how many people can be in the space given its size, and how much distance there should be between customers. Services activities that have direct contact with the customer, including hospitality, can use protective masks, which would be mandatory for both employees and customers, gloves, and mandatory disinfection of premises, devices, and similar.

We would also like to present some of our proposals for economic recovery.

Add 4) Long-term strategic goals for the development of Croatia

We have defined and published the Association's long-term goals, which include:

  • • Impact on reducing administrative requirements for entrepreneurs
  • • Impact on promoting business in the private sector and reducing the number of regulations, restrictions, and rules that currently overburden businesses
  • • Development of a strategy for the rapid economic recovery of micro, small and medium-size entrepreneurs (including the plan for the development of women's entrepreneurship) by resuming regular financial flows and submitting the strategy to the government and competent authorities
  • • Cancellation of the mandatory membership fee to chambers and communities
  • • Creating a positive perception of the entrepreneur/self-employed and entrepreneurship/self-employment in society
  • • Development of entrepreneurial proactive and creative culture and thinking
  • • Establishing the Association as the primary representative of entrepreneurs and self-employed in negotiations with the government and participation in all related legislative processes
  • • Insisting on digitalization, automation, and any other technological processes that should be applied in public administration that are necessary for progress and global competitiveness
  • • Transformation of the public sector from the current 30%+ of all employees in the state, to an EU average of 16%, including the reduction of the state apparatus and local governments
  • • The reduction of income tax and contributions, a reduction in the work burden, and balancing the tax burden
  • • Depoliticizing justice system and increasing its effectiveness through digitalization
  • • The long-term lower tax burden of all parts of the economy
  • • Effective territorial structure and reduction of the number of local government units
  • • Establishment of the Glas Poduzetnika Association as an active social partner for Croatia's Government, and entering the Economic and Social Council
  • • Putting into service and reassigning the unused state property and real estate
  • • Since the most important and strategic partner for this purpose is the Government of the Republic of Croatia, we would like to start a conversation about how and what joint initiatives can be started as soon as possible.

Following the above, we can offer to hold a joint e meeting within the next week / at your premises or via video call / where we believe we would agree on the steps we will take to achieve a common goal.

We thank you in advance for your response to the invitation and suggestion of meeting dates. We also look forward to the future that we build together to the satisfaction of our micro, small and medium-sized entrepreneurs, as well as self-employed.

Sincerely,

Hrvoje Bujas

President of Glas Poduzetnika Association

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For the latest from Glas Poduzetnika on TCN, follow our dedicated section.

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