bnn.lv Latviski   bnn-news.com English   bnn-news.ru По-русски
Wednesday 18.10.2017 | Name days: Rolanda, Rolands, Ronalds, Erlends
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

Sale of MTG’s business in Baltics to Providence concludes successfully

Wednesday, 18 October, marked the successful conclusion of the sale of Baltic assets owned by Swedish media concern Modern Times Group to Providence Equity Partners. From now on companies previously owned by MTG in Baltics will function as a single organization named All Media Baltics, as confirmed by the company’s manager Pierre Danon.

Estonian port company makes 29% more revenue in January-September

Estonian state port company Port of Tallinn has made the revenue in the amount of 99.1 million euros in the first nine months of 2017, which is a 29% increase compared to January-September in 2016.

42 gambling halls to be closed down in Riga in next five years

On Wednesday, 18 October, Riga City Council supported plans to close another 33 gambling halls in the city. With that, a total of 42 gambling halls will be liquidated in the next five year.

Latvia has the highest index of female CEOs among EU member states

The highest index of female CEOs among European Union member states belongs to Latvia – 47%. In total, only 33% of CEOs in EU were female last year, according to data from the Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia.

Survey: more and more people take notice of benefits provided by EU membership

65% of Latvian residents believe the country’s membership in the European Union has brought tangible benefits. A similar opinion was voiced by 64% of residents of all EU member states in the Eurobarometer study performed by the European Parliament.

17 persons in need of international aid are relocated to Latvia from Turkey

On Tuesday, 17 October, seventeen individuals, including nine children, in need of international protection were relocated to Latvia from Turkey as part of EU resettlement programme, as confirmed by Latvian Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs.

BATL: to avoid crisis in transit sector, government and Transport Ministry must act

Latvian Prime Minister Māris Kučinskis’ led Latvian Ports, Transit and Logistics Council also supports Saeima’s National Economy Committee’s decision on the need for Transport Ministry to develop a long-term vision for the development of the country’s transit industry.

Psychologist: six-year-old children are not ready for school

«It is wrong to believe that the sooner a child starts going to school, the better their academic results will be. Reforms are performed aggressively, without asking pedagogues or other specialists for their opinion. We lack a comprehensive analysis of the current situation that would be based on studies, not international ratings,» says certified clinical psychologist and psychotherapist Jolanta Lamstere.

Klaipeda transport ticketing system to be installed by Estonian Ridango

In the Lithuanian port city of Klaipeda, Estonian firm Ridango has been selected for installing its technology on public transport.

Policeman in Malta posts he's happy about killing of journalist Galizia

In Malta, where an investigative journalist has been killed this week, a police sergeant has posted on Facebook he felt happy about her death and has been suspended from office a day after.

Exchange indexes reach new records; oil prices increase as well

Dow Jones Industrial Average and Standard & Poor’s 500 index reached new record-high values on Tuesday, 17 October. US dollar value before euro and Japanese yen increased.

Anti-corruption protesters in Ukraine push for reforms

Three protesters and a policeman have been injured in Kyiv, Ukraine, as a crowd of anti-corruption demonstrators voiced their demands for reforms aimed at tackling corruption in the country.

«Islamic state» capital conquered by Syrian Democratic Forces

An alliance of Syrian-Kurdish fighters, which is supported by the U.S., has stated it has gained full control of Raqqa, which has been for three years the centre of the «Islamic state» regime.

Poland hopes Turkey would join EU

Polish President Andrzej Duda meeting his Turkish counterpart shortly before an European Union-Turkey summit has expressed a hope that the country located at the cross-roads between Europe and the Middle East would join the EU some time.

Number of people at risk of poverty in Baltics in higher than the average in EU

The ratio of people subjected to poverty or social exclusion risk in Baltic States is higher than the average in the European Union, according to Eurostat data compiled for 26 out of 28 member states in 2016.

E-voting defended in Estonia after criticism from party leader

Responding to claims from a leader of an Estonian political party that the country’s e-voting system lacks transparency, the head of e-Government Academy’s e-democracy department explained it was possible that the voters of one party are more active e-voters than supporters of other parties.

Residents’ mood worsens; people become more critical about their finances

Over the course of the past month, residents’ general mood has worsened significantly – declines have been noted on all positions analysed by the survey. Residents were critical the most in the survey about their material state – the index in this category declined from -9 to -11, according to the latest Baltic International Bank Latvian Barometer.

Antāne: Saeima’s National Economy Committee has heard the transit industry’s cry

Inga Antāne, president of Baltic Association – Transport and Logistics, is satisfied with the decision that was made at the recent meeting of Saeima’s Economic, Agricultural, Environmental and Regional Policy Committee, asking the Transport Ministry to develop and present a sustainable development strategy for the industry and putting an emphasis on raising the competitiveness of railway tariffs.

Latvian’s attitude towards combating cancer in late stages seems irresponsible

The attitude towards combating cancer in late stages in Latvia remains very low, says former healthcare minister of Latvia Ingrīda Circene.

Hydrogen-powered transport technology – a reality in Latvia

There are plans to establish a hydrogen refuelling station in Riga before the end of 2017. A publicly available H2 refuelling station in Riga would secure an inter-state network of hydrogen refuelling stations: the closest other station will be established in Pernava, says Association Zero Emission Mobility Support chairman Arnis Bergs.

Estonian ministry to collect 270 000 euros from IT company over failure to build information system

Tieto Estonia, the Estonian branch of Finnish IT firm group Tieto will compensate the Estonian Ministry of Social Affairs 270,000 euros for the failure of the SKAIS2 project, the aim of which was the development of a new information system for the Estonian social insurance authority, but was deemed a failure in August.

Latvia invites Iran to act constructively to ensure security

Latvian Foreign Affairs Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs participated in a meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council in Luxembourg, where he discussed about the role of Iran in the region and the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action in light of the upcoming report from US President Donald Trump to the Congress on Iran’s progress realizing the plan.

Vigil held in Malta over killing of investigative journalist

Several thousand people in Malta have taken part in a vigil held after news broke of the killing of an investigative journalist, who blamed Maltese government for corruption.

American exchange indexes reach record-high values; oil prices on the rise

In response to price rise of bank stocks, three leading indexes of US exchanges reached new record heights on Monday, 16 October. In addition, US Federal Reserve System manager Janet Yellen’s prediction regarding a soon inflation rise has increased confidence that base interest rate will increase in December.

54.14% more alcohol exported from Latvia; most of it to Russia

In the first eight months of 2017, a total of 102.259 million litres of alcoholic drinks was exported from Latvia, which is 54.14% more when compared with the same period of last year.