In its session on 12 March 2009, the Government approved a decision-in-principle on the action plan for the reduction of the administrative burden on businesses for 2009-2012 by 25 per cent over the 2006 level by the end of 2012.
Reducing the administrative burden will primarily benefit small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which make up the overwhelming majority of enterprises: in 2006, a total of 99.8 per cent of all enterprises in Finland were SMEs.
This reduction goal is targeted at national legislation and official procedures alongside the obligations of supranational legislation, the implementation of which allows national flexibility. The national action plan focuses on measures that de facto, and from the perspective of practical business, alleviate the administrative burdens of enterprises, thus enhancing their productivity and improving their competitiveness.
The action plan contains seven priorities: 1) taxation, 2) statistics, 3) agricultural subsidisation procedures, 4) food safety and quality, 5) employers' reporting obligations, 6) financial reporting legislation and 7) environmental permit procedures. The development of electronic communication for businesses is the horizontal priority of the action plan.
Lightening the bureaucracy related to business activities will not, however, endanger the realisation of legislative objectives. The administrative burden will be eased by simplifying the reporting obligations stipulated by the existing legislation and by developing communication with the authorities, particularly electronic communication. An additional objective is to ensure that the legislation under preparation does not create any unnecessarily heavy, new administrative obligations for businesses.
The initial quantitative level of administrative burden in Finland can be roughly estimated as 2 per cent of the gross national product, i.e., in relation to the GNP of 2007, some 3.6 billion euros. This covers the burden caused by EU legislation and national legislation. The national action plan is linked to the EU Action Plan aimed at reducing the administrative burden caused by EU legislation by 25 per cent by 2012.
Implementation of the action plan and the need for supplementing and updating it will be monitored by the steering group for reducing the administrative burden on businesses, appointed by the Ministry of Employment and the Economy.
(Source: Ministry of Employment and the Economy Press Release)