bnn.lv Latviski   bnn-news.com English   bnn-news.ru По-русски
Friday 22.06.2018 | Name days: Ludmila, Laimdots, Laimiņš
LatviaLatvia

BNN summary of the week: name-calling in Transport Ministry and rushed tax reform

FaceBook
Twitter
Draugiem
print
(No Ratings Yet)

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUBNN offers a summary of this week’s topical news in a variety of categories: Fight; Truth; Business; Future; Growth and Opinion.

BUSINESS: SRS to present parliamentary investigators materials associated with oligarch case

Members of the parliamentary investigative committee will be presented with materials associated with the infamous oligarch case, as confirmed by Chief of State Revenue Service’s Finance Police Edijs Ceipe.

Initially SRS had informed the committee that materials would be given to the prosecutor responsible for the case, not the committee. However, after evaluating applicable regulations, it has been decided to allow deputies to go through those materials in the presence of SRS employees.

Members of the committee did not mention which exact case is in question, but TV3 programme Nekā personīga reported on 10 September that Finance Police ended the criminal case regarding VAT fraud in relation to the construction of ex-politician Ainārs Šlesers’ house. The programme mentioned that Finance Police had decided to end the case. However, authorities did not provide proof that ‘there had been no tax fraud or at least an intention to cause damage to the state’.

The whole situation started when SIA Avadel, a company owned by Šlesers family, turned to SRS and requested repayment of more than EUR 225,000 in VAT, which was a result of construction and maintenance work associated with construction of said building. This raised a certain degree of suspicion within SRS that Šlesers was thereby trying to avoid paying all the necessary taxes. An audit was organized in Avadel as a result. SRS officials were confident the company had no rights for VAT return because ownership rights over the building are owned by Šlesers family, not the company, Nekā personīga reports.

Full article here

FIGHT: Antāne: I will talk about Transport Ministry without name-calling, I am above that

Baltic Association – Transport and Logistics organized a press-conference at Bergs Hotel on Wednesday, 13 September. During this conference, the association reported on the proposed action plan with specific objectives and deadlines for the government.

Members of the association also invited Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis to take charge in talks with industry representatives, considering that talks with Transport Ministry and minister Uldis Augulis have reached a dead end.

After the official portion of the conference, in which BATL president Inga Antāne, Ventbunkers economy and budget office manager Ivars Landmanis, Baltic Expresis chairman Māris Bremze and Ventspils Commercial Port board member Jānis Hāze discussed topical problems in the industry and answered questions from the audience.

It is important to emphasize that Antāne, opening the discussion about the industry’s problems, said: «It is not just about transit, but also about Latvia’s economy as a whole. The industry provides 8,000 jobs and brings the state budget around one billion euros every year.»

The conference pointed to the trend for processed cargo volumes to decline. «This is the reality,» said BATL president. She added that it is necessary to review costs, the current loan volume and the tariff, which is set to grow by 7% next year.

Full article here

TRUTH: for tax reform to yield results, it should have been given three years to develop

For it to yield tangible results, the tax reform should have been given at least three years to develop, says financial and legal affairs consultant, Latvian Tax Consultant Association’s chairman Ainis Dābols.

He is confident that any tax reform’s introduction period should be longer than what Latvia has now.

«I was present at the meeting with Finance Minister Dana Reizniece-Ozola. She said there is no more room for delays – elections are around the corner. On top of that, she said there is a number of European Commission requirements and other reasons why it should be done this year. Perhaps she is right. Nevertheless, but if the effect from the reform would have been better if it had been in development longer,» said Dābols.

According to him, it would have been better if the reform had been in development for at least three years. «It is easy for politicians to say – let’s introduce some new rules and then see how things go. I would rather the State Revenue Service not tell me out of the blue in 2020 that I owe something from 2018. Who would pay the tax debt for me – the prime minister?» said the tax consultant.

He believes it would be best to have a transition period so that businesses would not be applied with full-sized sanctions for problems with SRS. Unfortunately, because there is no transition period, businesses and private persons can expect some unpleasant surprises and even penalties.

Full article here

GROWTH: Latvia attracts half a billion euros from Juncker’s investment plan

Latvia has attracted approximately half a billion euros from the so-called Juncker investment plan, as confirmed by head of Latvia’s representation in the European Commission Inna Šteinbuka in an interview to Rīta Panorāma.

She says that Jean Claude Juncker’s speech in the European Parliament in Strasbourg was optimistic. There was no optimism a year ago: his main concern was Brexit at the time. And a year before then, the migrant crisis was the biggest problem for Europe.

This is why his latest speech was optimistic – Europe and Latvia both demonstrate growth, unemployment continues to decline and investments continue flowing into economies.

Šteinbuka said that even though initially there was scepticism in Latvia upon the unveiling of Juncker’s plan, current estimates show that approximately half a billion euros have entered Latvia’s economy thanks to this plan.

Full article here

FUTURE: Smiltēns may cooperate with another party to participate in Saeima elections

The now former Unity member Edvards Smiltēns does not exclude the possibility of cooperating with any existing Saeima party to participate in upcoming elections.

As reported by Diena, Society for Positive Changes will discuss plans for the future this week. One of the variants on the table is foundation of a new party. However, Smiltēns believes it is necessary to consolidate political forces, not create new ones. This is why a different option is in consideration – Society for Positive Changes may sign a cooperation agreement with some party prior to Saeima elections to delegate candidates, «which would be better from the opinion of state interests».

Smiltēns did not mention which party he may cooperate with. He only said that he has spoken with multiple parties. The association currently has around 50 members, some of whom are former Unity members.

Full article here

OPINION: can an official survive in Latvia without Lembergs?

The general impression in Latvia is that most politicians believe that life without Aivars Lembergs would mean the same as what is implied in by Christianity – living without God means subjecting oneself to hell.

Perhaps Latvian politicians also think that it is better to not live is such a ‘hell’ and instead believe what ‘paradise’ can give them. In such a case, you would not be a ‘political prostitute’, ‘corrupted politician’ or even ‘an international criminal’ in Lembergs’ eyes. Those were just some of the things Lembergs loves to mention in relation to his opponents.

Lembergs’ influence on many of Latvia’s politicians hardly surprises anyone at this point. However, it is rumoured that Saeima’s parliamentary committee for the investigation of the infamous oligarch case has members loyal to Lembergs. If this is true, it is worth considering just how «high and mighty» he is.

On Monday, 11 September, Saeima deputy Artuss Kaimiņš announced that there are four people associated with Lembergs or his family that take active part in the parliamentary investigation. According to Kaimiņš, such a situation means open mocking of Latvia’s society.

Spitting the face of Latvia’s society can also be attributed to journalist, member of Latvian Association of Journalists and the National Alliance, Riga City Council member candidate Imants Liepiņš, who, it seems, is not shy to apply for Saeima’s Parliamentary Investigative Committee and voice his readiness to voice proposals on how to best «improve Latvia’s information space free of propaganda and false news».

Full article here

Ref: 224.109.109.4195


Leave a reply

Petrol station network in Latvia caught performing fraudulent activities with diesel fuel

State Revenue Service’s Tax and Customs Police have uncovered and put an end to a fraudulent scheme with diesel fuel performed by some network of petrol stations in Latvia, as confirmed by the service.

Kaimiņš: I believe CPCB is performing a political order

In the evening of Thursday, 21 June, Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau released three people previously detained as part of a criminal process regarding possible illegal funding of KPV LV party – Saeima deputy Artuss Kaimiņš, his colleague Atis Zakatistovs, and businessman Viesturs Tamužs.

Latvia’s parliament conceptually supports new sanction regulations

On Thursday, 21 June, Saeima supported in the final reading amendments to the Law on International Sanctions and National Sanctions of the Republic of Latvia that are meant to improve sanction regime regulations to ensure efficient application of national and international sanctions, as reported by Saeima press-service.

Storm in Tallinn floods streets, cuts Croatia-Argentina match short on TV

A rain storm has hit northern Estonia on Thursday, flooding some streets in the capital Tallinn, damaged buildings and badly affected the broadcast of an interesting World Cup game.

American banks tested for financial stress show positive results

The U.S. has performed banking stress tests and found that the 35 largest banks operating in the country have enough funds on hand to sail safely through a severe financial crisis.

Saeima fires judge for coming to work in a drunken state

On Thursday, 21 June, Latvia’s parliament supported the proposal to dismiss Rezekne Court judge Arvis Garais from his post. 71 deputies voted in favour, no one abstained and no one voted against.

UK to have three requirements to EU citizens willing to remain in UK

For citizens of the European Union willing to continue living in the UK after the country leaves the bloc, they will have to submit applications and answer three key questions over the internet, according to the country's interior minister.

Weather in Latvia to be rainy and cool during Ligo; next week’s weather to be dry and hot

Weather at the end of the week in Latvia will be dictated by a cyclone. Because of that, there will be instances of rain on Ligo. Weather is expected to improve next week, however, according to Latvia’s State Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre.

Lithuania’s blood plasma corruption scandal extends to Latvia

The former head of Lithuania‘s National Blood Centre, suspected of corruption and involvement in unlicenced activity, received more bad news this week from Latvia, where investigators of the Lithuanian Special Investigation Service had questioned the Latvian Health minister, Anda Čakša.

Administrative burden to be reduced for foreign students and researchers

The administrative burden will be reduced for foreign students and researchers, as well as all education and research institutions hosting them. This is provided by the amendments to the Immigration Law approved by the Saeima in the third reading on Thursday, 21 June.

Latvian Economy Minister endures no-confidence vote

Saeima declined opposition deputies’ request for dismissal of Economy Minister Arvils Ašeradens.

Swedbank economist becomes new member of Bank of Latvia Council

On Thursday, 21 June, Latvia’s Saeima approved Mārtiņš Kazāks in his new post as member of Bank of Latvia Council, as confirmed by Saeima’s press-service.

Pope Francis’ visit to Latvia will be a national holiday

Latvia’s parliament has approved in the final reading a law that makes 24 September – the day Pope Francis plans to visit Latvia – a national holiday.

ICT specialist numbers in Latvia are below Europe’s average level

In Latvia, information and communication technology specialists form only 2.2% of all employed people in the country, which is considerably below the average level in the European Union – 3.7%. Romania and Greece are the only two EU member states in which the number of ICT specialists is below Latvia’s, according to European Commission’s DESI index.

Hungary adopts prison sentence for helping migrants

Hungarian National Assembly has passed a set of laws criminalising with prison terms some help provided to illegal immigrants by non-governmental organisations.

Harmony plans turning to Constitutional Court to prevent transition to Latvian language in schools

«Why should this reform stay unrealized? It is because schools are not prepared for cardinal changes coming from dozens of other reforms that have already shocked the country’s entire general education system,» says chairman of National Minority School Parents Forum and member of Harmony’s work group in Konstantīns Čekušins.

Deputies detained in KPV LV criminal case not declared suspects yet

Saeima deputy Artuss Kaimiņš and businessman Viesturs Tamužs detained in the criminal process regarding possibly illegal funding of KPV LV party have not yet been declared suspects. Both are currently in police custody. It is likely Kaimiņš will be released later today, 21 June.

Production of mines and grenades planned in Estonia

As the Estonian parliament has adopted new rules on military arms and ammunition production in the country, local defence firm Eesti Arsenal has voiced its plan to build a factory in Estonia to make military explosives.

Total tax debts in Latvia reached EUR 1.224 billion in June

At the beginning of June, total tax debts in Latvia, including topical, halted debts and extended repayment terms were equal to EUR 1.233 billion, which is 0.6% less compared to May, as reported by State Revenue Service.

Switch off internet nationwide during exams – Algerian approach

In an attempt to prevent cheating during secondary school exams, the north African nation Algeria, has turned off internet in its whole territory.

Control Service proposes kicking out shell companies as intensely as offshore companies

Shell companies in Latvia should be combated with the same intensity once shown to offshore companies, says chief of Anti-Money Laundering Service Ilze Znotiņa.

EU imposes tariffs on blue jeans, motorcycles and other U.S. export goods

The European Union will introduce retaliatory tariffs against U.S. exports on Friday, EU Trade Commissioner has stated a top official has stated in the bloc's reaction to Washington imposing steep duties on steel and aluminium earlier in June.

Latvia’s Saeima proposes improving job-combining rules for state officials

On Wednesday, 20 June, Latvian parliament’s Public Administration and Local Government Committee decided to submit for review amendments to the Law on Prevention of Conflict of Interest in Activities of Public Officials.

Ukraine's anti-corruption court law insufficient to IMF commitments

The International Monetary Fund has commended the Ukrainian parliament for passing a law to establish an anti-corruption court and pointed to need to amend it to ensure the court can work effectively.

Opinion: they’re trying to shut us up; KPV LV is inconvenient for current government

«We are inconvenient for the current government, the established order, because for the first time a party is prepared to use facts in its rhetoric in the pre-election period. They are trying to shut us up,» said KPV LV prime minister candidate Aldis Gobzems at a press-conference after Artuss Kaimiņš was taken away by Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau.