Interview | Przemyslaw Sztandera, CEO, PSEZ (Pomeranian Special Economic Zone)

18 May 2020

Pomeranian Special Economic Zone (PSEZ) is one of 14 national service center covering the regions of Kujawsko-Pomorskie and Pomorskie in Northern Poland. It acts as a coordinator of granting public aid, but also fosters entrepreneurship, attracts new investments, and educates the business community.

Can you give a brief overview of PSEZ and the role that the organization plays in the region?

We are covering 226 local communities across two key regions in Northern Poland, Kujawsko-Pomorskie and Pomorskie, conveniently connected by international airports, seaports and highways, and benefitting from an excellent talent pool. The organization works closely with local authorities and regional economic, science, and cultural communities to ensure efficient, adequate and complex information for business of different shapes and sizes looking to invest here. We help prepare investment sites and the organization of all necessary steps leading to the commencement of construction activities. The zone is well tailored to a wide range of business operations such as manufacturing operations, services, and BPO.

 

Since 2018 regulations changed to better nourish the development of local SMEs. Companies operating within the zone can be exempted from income tax by reason of investment expenditure or the employment costs level specified in the license.

 

The minimum required level of investment expenditure varies from PLN 200,000 (EUR 47,000) for micro companies to PLN 100 million (EUR 23,8 million) for large corporates depending on unemployment rate within local community. The current relief rate for the region is 35% for large enterprises and as much as 55% for the rest. In 2019, we issued 41 decisions in the region, of which 35 where issued to Polish owned companies and 29 went to SMEs, all amounting to PLN 1.4 billion (aprox. EUR 330 million), which means we rank third in the country.

How does PSEZ compare with other special economic zones in Poland in terms of the role you take on, and is the tax relief percentage the same across all zones? 

The tax relief percentage differs from zone to zone, depending on the unemployment rate in the region. There is also a special category for the cities in Poland which are losing their economic position. We have a slightly different profile than other economic zones for instance thanks to our two scientific parks – Gdansk Science and Technology Park and Baltic Port of New Technologies. Gdansk Science and Technology Park provides comprehensive support for the development of SMEs and startups, especially in the areas of biotechnology, artificial intelligence, life sciences and IT. The Baltic Port of New Technologies located on the former Gdynia Shipyard is a supportive ecosystem for the maritime and related industries.

 

In 2019, we also launched the Industrial Robots Programming Centre on Ostrow Island, which is one of the first center of this kind in Poland focused on training for vocational schools. Industry 4.0 is upon us and stands to entirely change our world, so we find it important to educate students in this field.

 

For example we have two robots donated to us by the Institute of Fluid-Flow Machinery of the Polish Academy of Sciences which are being used educationally. Compared to other economic zones, PSEZ is taking on a broader role where we are supporting the diversification of the industry and skills. 

Thanks to your unique location you are teed up to play a key role for offshore wind – how important is the energy sector for the region?  

Energy is an integral part of the region’s economy. Many elements required for offshore wind farms have to be constructed for practical reasons, and we are pleased to already see a healthy ecosystem of local services ready to fulfill operators’ and manufacturers’ requirements, from cables to ships. We are still waiting on the final decision surrounding local content, and expect regulations to stipulate a minimum 50% share of services and equipment to be locally sourced.

 

PSEZ owns properties close to the bay which we can offer to investors and we are also looking for land plots which fulfill the requirements of our investors, with further room to work on the infrastructure if needed. If the investor meets the requirements, we can also grant them tax reliefs. 

 

Exciting times ahead, what are you prioritizing for the coming few years and what can investors expect from the region?

We are always happy to welcome investors to the region and also want to encourage existing ones to expand their activities and collaborate with each other. Our main goal is to share information on who and how they are eligible for the tax reliefs set in place. We are visiting local municipalities and financial institutions and educating them. Likewise we have been hosting different events across industry sectors, which are rapidly gathering attention and a growing attendance.

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