economy has expanded to about 7 per cent of the GNI
Juhani Artto) According to a new thorough study* the grey (formerly black)
economy was in 2008
somewhere between 10 and 14 billion euros. Using EUR12
billion as the amount
the provision of the grey economy would have been 6.5
per cent of the gross
national income (EUR 184 billion).
In 2009 the provision probably jumped to at least 7.0 per cent as the GNI
fell by 7.8 per cent to EUR171 billion and nothing indicates that the grey
economy has shrunk in any way or fashion.
These figures mean that the provision of the grey economy has expanded at a
frightening space. In
the mid 1990's
the provision was estimated to be about
4-5 per cent.
The latest study confirms the commonly held perception that the legislation
and the control
mechanisms do not effectively counter the criminal actors at work in
the grey economy. The
researchers offer a long list of proposals for reforms
and changes that are
needed if the problem is seriously to be tackled.
However, leading politicians seem unconcerned and are doing little to
effectively control the grey economy. And this is reflected in the budget
the Ministry of Finance. The
Ministry used a red pencil to scrap the modest
proposals of the
Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of the Interior to
hire more personnel to
fight the grey economy.
Financially this does not make sense as more personnel would mean more tax
incomes for the State.
The grey economy also distorts conditions of competition
between honest and
dishonest companies and entrepreneurs.
The trade union movement resolutely supports tighter legislation and control
on the grey
economy. It is often forgotten
that organised labour suffers just as much or even more than
honest companies and
the national economy. Our unions are keen to remind everyone that it is
often the same shady
entrepreneurs that are guilty of tax evasion and who offer
employees the most
miserable working conditions.
According to the study, the vast majority of these rotten companies are
organisations in the
construction, catering and transport industries.
Internationalisation of the Finnish business world has made it more
difficult to tackle the grey economy problem, the researchers conclude.
The study was commissioned by the Parliamentary Audit Committee. This small
group of researchers was
led by Markku Hirvonen, who is the most experienced
researcher into the
grey economy in Finland.