AmCham Policy Update - January 2023
On December 13, AmCham Slovakia brought together all relevant stakeholders from the public sphere, business environment, NGOs and research in the area of digitalization in Slovakia. We identified the major barriers preventing a successful digital transformation of Slovakia: lack of trust between public authorities and other stakeholders, fragmented communication about strategic reforms and initiatives, non-existence of the rules for (expert) public participation concerning public policy shaping, too much focus on administrative processes and not enough focus on the impact, which results in ineffective execution of investments and reforms.
The goal of this roundtable discussion has been to kickstart a closer cooperation between the public and other sectors and together we successfully managed to identify a set of concrete areas where the private sector can contribute and offer its expertise: consideration of uniform rules on private sector participation, support of digital skills building awareness, effective and successful implementation of action plans and strategic reforms (with a clear focus on impact) and creation of a transparent governance model of public private partnerships.
On December 14, the government of the Slovak Republic approved two key strategic documents: Action Plan for Digital Transformation of Slovakia 2023 - 2026 aimed at increasing digitalization of Slovak economy and targeting especially small and medium enterprises and innovative businesses and the National Strategy and Action Plans of Digital Skills 2023 – 2026 aimed at increasing the number of ICT specialists, girls and women in IT, digital skills of youth and teachers, and those from disadvantaged backgrounds and senior population. AmCham Slovakia contributed to the final version of these documents with commentaries from itexperts during the inter-departmental review process.
On December 8, AmCham Slovakia organized unique expert discussion about preventive healthcare in Slovakia via connecting all relevant stakeholders from the public administration, business environment, NGOs and numerous associations. During the discussion numerous deficiencies that prevent efficient preventive care have been identified such lack of coordination among the main actors, public authorities, associations, municipality; limited sharing of best practices, what works and what does not or shortage of funds that flows into preventive care. Also, insufficient data and access to it for research and public policy making and faulty reporting methodology has been mentioned. Getting into closer cooperation between all the stakeholders (including creation of smaller driving team), starting with designing better governance model of preventive healthcare and better funding scheme has been discussed as a way forward.
On December 14, AmCham HCC meeting has been organized in order to map and evaluate various projects and initiatives concerning Healthcare system in Slovakia carried out in 2022 and to discuss the plan of its activities for 2023. Major event such as Health Data Value Project Conference 2022 and further Health data initiatives have been highlighted and agreed to put forward. Further, the participation on the legislative framework of innovative treatment as well as AmCham’s assistance provided to Slovak Ministry of Health in establishing the Health Innovation Hub proved the constant focus on building innovative and more resilient Healthcare system in Slovakia. AmCham HCC Members agreed to continue in close cooperation with relevant public authorities and to elaborate and contribute further in its main mission to create value-based Healthcare system with the greatest possible benefit for the patient while respecting and utilizing the roles of all related stakeholders.
On December 21, AmCham Slovakia health data team met with the General Director of National Health Information Centre in order to discuss further steps concerning legal bases in order to establish Health data hub. Both sides agreed on further cooperation and common objective to build stronger health data legal framework including the Ministry of Health of the SR’s essential role in this process.
On December 13 we had the heartwarming opportunity to invite our members to a Christmas punch on the occasion of the Christmas in Technicom event. We are very glad that our members and partners came to enjoy the pleasant Christmas atmosphere in Technicom with us and that we could wish you a happy holiday season over a great cup of Christmas punch. At this event we also supported ETP Slovakia, an organization dedicated to working with excluded communities in Eastern Slovakia.
On December 14, AmCham Slovakia, as an important voice of the business community, also participated in the second roundtable discussion with the leadership of the City of Prešov and its partners on the final version of the overarching vision of the Integrated Spatial Strategy of the City of Prešov which should be introduced in the upcoming period.
On December 21, there was a public hearing of three candidates for the new head of the Slovak Antimonopoly Office. According to the minutes published on the website of the government office, the selection committee will recommend Juraj Beňa to the government.
According to the Law on Protection of Competition, the head of the Antimonopoly Office is appointed by the President on the recommendation of the government. Public hearings are crucial for selecting candidates for regulatory and control bodies. The Antimonopoly office makes sure that companies do not collude with each other to unfairly divide the market to secure higher revenues or to prevent big players from abusing their market dominance vis-à-vis their suppliers or customers.
We thank Peter Šťastný for his time and expertise in representing the Rule of Law Initiative on the selection committee. You can find the candidate CVs, the recording of the public hearing, and the minutes here: https://bit.ly/3hobChZ
On December 6, AmCham members, and representatives of the Rule of Law Initiative met with Peter Kubovič, Head of the Office for Public Procurement, and Robert Majchrak, Director of the Legislative and Legal Department. We discussed the future cooperation, the state of legislation and its impact on practice, the existence of an appellate body of the Council of the Office and the transfer of its competence to the courts, or the amendment to the Criminal Code. We would like to thank Peter Kubovic for his readiness to cooperation with the business community, and a productive discussion.
On December 2, following the joint statement of employers' organizations from two weeks ago, in which we objected to some of the most disturbing proposals currently debated in the Parliament, we joined other employers' organizations in a follow-up press conference. It focused on the Draft Act on Special Levy on Regulated Sectors, as the debate in the Committees of the Parliament in the past week has shown that the impact on various sectors is dramatic and neither the MPs nor the Finance Ministry, seem to realize the extent of the consequences.
Representing AmCham Slovakia, Gabriel Galgoci, AmCham President, voiced the concerns on behalf of our members – investors in Slovakia. News about our earlier joint statement can be found here: https://bit.ly/3B4AkL2
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