PLN 28 billion from anti-covid shields is to return to PFR. More companies will be asked to return the subsidies

Luc Williams

Bartosz Marczuk recalled that the average amount of support for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) was approximately PLN 600,000. PLN, and for micro-enterprises approx. 70 thousand. PLN, but among those summoned there are also entrepreneurs who received the maximum amount, i.e. PLN 3.5 million.

“If entrepreneurs do not agree with the Fund's decision, debt collection proceedings will be initiated”

When asked when the next several hundred companies will receive letters requesting the return, Marczuk replied: “we are waiting for the latest confirmation from the relevant services and institutions.” He noted that PFR does not know the reasons why the services recommended the return of the subsidy. “We comply with the decisions of the services, which informed us that there is a risk of abuse, including that which may threaten the economic security of the state,” he explained. When asked about the details of these recommendations, he said that PFR does not provide such information.

Marczuk added that when implementing and settling the PFR Shields, he cooperated with various institutions (including KAS and ZUS) to verify entities that submitted applications for subsidies. The Fund also cooperated with special services, which provided recommendations regarding the payment of aid – due to the pace of work dictated by economic and social circumstances, the cooperation was developmental in nature. “However, already at this stage, both under Shield 1.0 and 2.0, we have refused to pay funds to several hundred entrepreneurs as a result of these recommendations,” he said.

He added that the second stage of verification of beneficiaries took place when issuing the decision to cancel the subsidy, as a rule, one year after receiving it. “The time between the implementation of programs and the issuance of redemption decisions allowed the services and institutions to conduct a more thorough analysis, as a result of which it was recommended not to redeem the subsidies paid in some cases,” said the vice-president. He noted that recent decisions on the return of support concern entities for which the service is 100 percent confirmed their recommendations. “And that is why we started the process of recovering unduly provided support from these companies,” he added. He informed that companies that received such notices have 14 business days to return the money, and – if they reach an agreement with PFR – they can divide the payment into installments. He also informed that interest on previously paid amounts is accrued only from the date of the request. “If entrepreneurs do not agree with the Fund's decision, debt collection proceedings will be initiated and they can prove their case in court,” Marczuk pointed out.

“Only about 2 percent of the 355,000 companies that received support are asked for explanations.”

The vice president did not say how many companies have so far agreed with the PFR decision and asked for payments to be divided into installments, or how many of them have announced that they will appeal against the decision. “It is too early to talk about numbers, but I expect that some will not return the aid received, which will result in their being sued. It is also possible that some of these companies, despite having an active entry in the National Court Register or CEIDG, may no longer exist, because they could be used to extort support,” he said. He did not rule out that in some cases the cases could drag on for several years.

When asked about the Supreme Audit Office's report, which concluded that the goals assumed by PFR, i.e. protecting jobs and ensuring financial liquidity for companies, could have been achieved with smaller expenditure, the vice-president replied that “it is difficult to imagine better and more efficiently organized aid than implemented by PFR in cooperation with market, i.e. with banks and the National Clearing House. “At the same time, as it turns out over time, it is very tight, only about 2%. out of 355 thousand companies that have received support are asked to provide explanations and return some or all of the aid,” Marczuk emphasized.

As part of neutralizing the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy, PFR paid companies – from two SME Shields and the Shield for Large Companies – approximately PLN 74 billion. Of this, PLN 28 billion is to – as Marczuk said – “return to the Fund”. So far, companies have already paid back almost PLN 25 billion. To provide support, PFR issued bonds worth PLN 74 billion, the money from which went to companies' accounts. After receiving the refunds, PFR also pre-finances projects under the KPO. So far, it has allocated PLN 5.3 billion from refunds for this purpose.

The PFR Group is a system of development institutions providing financial and advisory support to entrepreneurs, local governments and individuals investing for the sustainable economic development of Poland.

Author: Ewa Wesołowska


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