The governing party has been recently met with harsh critique by opposition and the public, which has been caused by enormous rewards given to ministers, members of political offices and administration workers, as well as by high Department of National Defense expenditures. As Rzeczpospolita reports, 76% of Poles judge the benefits given to the members of Beata Szydło’s government negatively.
The answer to MP Krzysztof Bejza’s interpellation revealed that each of 21 ministers from Beata Szydło’s government was receiving generous bonuses in 2017. The biggest total of bonuses, 82,000 zlotys, was given to the Minister of Internal Affairs and Administration, Mariusz Błaszczak. None of the total bonuses was lower than 65,000 zł.
A bonus that amounted to 65000 zlotys, was taken by the prime minister herself. The fact that the ministers’ evaluation (and on its basis, the admission of bonuses) is done by the prime minister, means that Beata Szydło has given the bonus to herself.
Fuel for the opposition provided Adam Lipiński, the member of the Prime Minister’s office, who denied getting any bonus. However, as the answer to Brejza’s interpellation showed – Lipiński was given a 51,000 zł bonus. The vice-president of PiS (ECR) explained himself later that he “may have gotten some money”, but he “needs to check what it was for”.
According to Platforma’s count, since the beginning of its term PiS has given away 200 million zlotys in a similar way.
“As poor as Gowin”
Critique of the governing party has also been begotten by Jarosław Gowin. In his interview for Radio ZET he admitted that when he was minister of justice, he “sometimes couldn’t make ends meet”. As PO and Nowoczesna point out, the Porozumienie leader earned 17.5 thousand zlotys a month at that time.
Minister of National Defense “work expenditures”
The anger of the opposition is also caused by Minister of National Defense’s high bills. Registered credit cards covered 15 milion zł in expenditures, which is seven times more than other departments spent in similar way.
According to Bartosz Kownacki’s declaration, “debit and credit cards used in the national defense department are a financial tool, crucial for money settlements, eg. hotel charges during business trips”. However, it hasn’t escaped the opposition’s attention that petrol for Batłomiej Misiewicz’s work car alone cost over 57,000 zlotys in the time period from January 2016 to January 2017. As Nowoczesna calculates, it means that this car had to drive 300 km per day.
Size of the government
The opposition also highlights that PiS, the currently residing party, is multiplying positions and bureaucracy, indicating Morawiecki’s government “has the most ministers and costs the most in the history of Poland”, with 120 ministers and vice-ministers at the moment of the criticism being leveled.
The fact that in 2014 the ruling PO-PSL coalition spent about 100 million zlotys on bonuses for their administration, seemed to defend Beata Szydło’s cabinet. PO’s politicians highlight, however, that the bonuses were only given to officials and not politicians. “I don’t recall getting a bonus as a minister”, the former Minster of Health in Donald Tusk’s government Ewa Kopacz declared. “Donald Tusk didn’t give us bonuses,” she explains. As she says herself, as a prime minister she was rewarding ministers with “a word” and “it was enough”.
PO also draws attention to the fact that neither Donald Tusk, nor Ewa Kopacz, rewarded themselves, unlike Beata Szydło, which the Public Broadcaster representative was forced to admit, and that their earnings equalled 198 thousand zlotys a year, while their successor earned 265 thousand zlotys in 2017 alone.
To make their accusations and defense more credible, Platforma has put forward a project of a bill that would forbid giving out financial rewards to ministers – “We’re calling PiS on to endorse it” – Sławomir Neumann agitated.
Promise of changes
Prime Minister Morawiecki has referenced the problems identified by opposition during the specially called press conference. The prime minister pointed out, however, that it “has nothing to do with the questions from previous days”, and as a reason for calling the conference he named finishing the “two and a half month audit”.
“An efficient, effective state builds on professional personnel, not on complex bureaucracy” – Morawiecki stated – “We will work towards shrinking bureaucracy, starting with ourselves”, he promised. The Prime Minister announced the number of Ministers and deputy ministers, which is currently 126, would have been diminished in two to three months from now by at least 20%.
The head of the government also aims to “remove all rewards and bonuses for ministers and deputy ministers”. “There will be no additional remittances this year”, he declared, “and in general, while I’m in office, there won’t be any rewards like these”.
The Prime Minister also expressed support for “lessening the number or abolishment” of official charge and debit cards. He warned that “in some cases, for bodies that work away on business, the cards may prove to be necessary”, but accepted removing them “whenever possible” as a rule.