Polish economic growth remains solid and unemployment is decreasing, but further investments in infrastructure and skills will be essential to sustain a continuing improvement in living standards, environmental quality and well-being, according to the latest OECD Economic Survey of Poland.
The Survey, presented in Warsaw today by OECD Chief Economist Catherine L. Mann and Poland’s Deputy Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, marks the 20th anniversary since Poland joined the OECD. It underlines the tremendous progress made toward convergence with higher-income countries over the past two decades, but also points out the challenges remaining to, strengthen employment and job quality, improve the business environment and boost infrastructure, as well as ensure sound public finances.
“Poland has made remarkable progress over the 20 years since it joined the OECD, delivering levels of well-being and quality of life that have never before been experienced,” Ms Mann said. “During the time when most countries have been struggling to bounce back from the global economic crisis, the Polish economy has reported strong growth, driving down unemployment. The challenge going forward is to find the policy mix to promote the transition to an economy based on higher technologies and skills, making growth stronger, greener and more inclusive.”
This reform agenda and the new government’s policy priorities – including a new child benefit – involve higher spending. To help finance this, the Survey proposes options for wide-ranging tax reform, including the withdrawal of reduced VAT rates and exemptions, increased use of property and green taxes and strengthening the tax administration. Boosting skills will lead to higher productivity and employment growth, according to the Survey. Continuing the expansion of access to early childhood education, strengthening support for weaker students and better integrating workplace training into vocational education will be key.
Better opportunities to combine professional and family lives are needed to allow more women into the workforce. In addition to more childcare facilities, long-term care services are also needed. The ongoing reform raising the statutory pension age in stages is needed to strengthen employment of seniors and avoid old-age poverty. Envisaged possibilities to retire early should be equal for men and women and should not involve financial incentives for take-up.
To improve infrastructure investment, Poland should better integrate environmental and health criteria to the project selection and evaluation process, ensure stable financing for public transport infrastructure investment and maintenance, and improve framework conditions for investment in renewable energy. Providing support to local governments running infrastructure projects and strengthening local governance capacities would improve infrastructure delivery.
Source: AICEP Portugal Global