BNN offers a summary of this week’s topical news in a variety of categories: Change; Business; Fight; Decline; Truth and Growth.
Change: Relocation of Riga Coach Terminal to the ‘other side’ becomes more realistic
The relocation of Riga Coach Station to the ‘other side’ is becoming more and more realistic, as a proposal has been voiced to relocation Riga International Coach Terminal to Tornakalns. The planned construction of a transport hub in Tornakalns has already attracted funding of EUR 7 million from the European Cohesion Fund, as reported by Transport Ministry.
Mayor of Riga Nils Usakovs previously told Latvijas Radio that the coach terminal will likely be relocated, and that it would be necessary to combine it with suburban and public transport stops in Riga. One option would by building a transport hub beneath the new Central Station. Another includes relocating the terminal to Tornakalns, where it is also planned to build Rail Baltic Station.
Business: Government supports continuation of talks about purchase of shares in Conexus Baltic Grid
On Tuesday, 11 April, the Cabinet of Ministers supported continuation of talks with Conexus Baltic Grid shareholders about a possible procurement of shares in the company.
The state will evaluate its possible involvement in Conexus Baltic Grid to ensure energy security and form a regional gas market among Baltic States and Finland by 2020, BNN was told by Economy Ministry.
It will be possible to achieve the government’s goal by securing infrastructure development (Estonian-Finnish Balticconnectorun and Lithuanian-Polish GIPL connecting infrastructure), achieving high market efficiency and equality in competition, as well as securing price equalization with Central Europe.
Fight: Usakovs calls Latvia’s education minister a liar and fraudster
Baiba Brigmane, representative of Unity’s faction in Riga City Council, has requested to add the matter on Riga City Council’s behaviour in improving the quality of education in Riga’s general education facilities to the agenda of the next meeting of the city council’s Education, Culture and Sports Committee.
She also requests inviting to the meeting the management of schools in which result index of exams in the 2015/16 school year was below 30%.
In response to the claim that schools in Riga have low-quality education, Mayor of Riga Nils Usakovs posted a statement on this Facebook page, saying: «The Education Minister – is unprofessional and, possibly, a fraudster».
Decline: Loginovs to continue working at Riga Freeport as advisor for Pecaks
Riga Freeport’s long-time CEO Leonids Loginovs will not stop working after retiring. He intends to continue working at the Freeport as the new CEO’s advisor, as reported by LTV.
Loginovs has been appointed as a freelance advisor to acting CEO Aigars Pecaks. Loginovs’ wage in the new post will be EUR 3,500 a month after taxes.
Truth: Estonian PM recognises gender pay gap as serious problem
It is necessary for Estonian society to address gender pay gap, said to be worst among EU nations, Estonian Prime Minister Jüri Ratas has evaluated.
«According to Eurostat data, our pay gap of 26.9 percent puts us at the very top in the European ranking; this situation has remained unchanged for several years now. Our message here should be clear and unambiguous — men and women must receive equal wages for the same job,» noted Ratas published on April 10, the European Equal Pay Day, as cited by the ERR.
Growth: World Bank asks Latvia to introduce labour force tax progressiveness
Latvia has to improve its tax system in order to offer its residents better services, say specialists of the World Bank in the report on Latvia’s tax system.
To reduce social inequality, the World Bank suggests introducing progressiveness for PIT in addition to social support for people with low income.
The World Bank notes – if Latvia wishes to realize residents’ hopes for better public services in healthcare, education and transport field, the country should consider the option to increase budget revenue by improving its tax system.
It is mentioned in the report that income tax and benefits are the most appropriate tools for the reduction of inequality. Progressiveness in PIT in addition to social support for people with low income could help reduce inequality in Latvia.
According to the World Bank’s estimates, introduction of three levels of PIT rates – 19%, 23% and 33% – and non-taxable minimum could help reduce inequality and raise budget revenue in Latvia.