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Saturday 21.10.2017 | Name days: Severīns, Urzula
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Landmanis: delayed port reforms will destroy basis of the Latvian economy

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Aivis Landmanis

«The fact is that things happening in the biggest ports of Latvia – Riga and Ventspils – have caused anxiety in the Latvian society, politicians and businessmen. Almost same as clear is the fact that transit business in the biggest ports has been put under command of selfish officials and some oligarchs,» said Aivis Landmanis, councillor of The Baltic Association of Transport and Logistics.

«A normal port management practice has become blackmail, administrative sway and giving up foreign investors who are not ready to share with any loginovs, ameriks or lembergs. Practically management of big ports is still subordinated to interests of millionaires and the so called oligarchs. Therefore any excuses saying the government is unable to change the existing port legislation which for years has served for well-being of some particular individuals, not the state of Latvia, are not understandable and cannot be supported,» Landmanis told the portal Apollo.lv.

«Currently obvious excuses of some coalition parties on postponement of amendments to the Law on Ports can be explained only as excuses not to make amendments to the law thus worsening the situation for millionaires and oligarchs. Such an approach cannot be supported in the new «legal» coalition,» Landmanis said.

In his opinion, business transparency and fairness of management of Latvian big ports should be one of priorities of the 11th Saeima and the government. Further governance of oligarchs and their puppets in big ports will only keep destroying belief in fair management of the state property which is being propagated by the «legal» coalition. Therefore, in order to achieve the strategic aim, Saeima has no basis to postpone the review of amendments to the Law on Ports.

«Things we experienced in recent years have only reinforced the confidence that delay in port reforms will keep decreasing competitiveness of the national transit corridor, it will destroy basis of the national economy. In boards of ports there should be specialists who are able to object management methods of current managers, who have good knowledge in weak sides of port and transit business and, who are able to offer reasonable proposals to improve the work of ports’ management,» Landmanis emphasized.

BNN already reported that the Latvian Competition Council (CC) has already fined Freeport of Riga Authority (FRA) a total of 150 000 lats (283 018 dollars) for violations of the Competition Law in relation to PKL Flote, however its management is not willing to give up power and keeps doing what it pleases. So far, no obvious sanctions have been imposed on the Freeport in spite of its activities that can deprive FRA of huge money.

It was also reported that recently there are more attempts to introduce better port management principles in Latvia. «Reforms on ports come so slow, because the issue is politicized. The three things we stand up for – clear goals of ports, fair competition and transparent management are not such a complex issue,» Liga Smildziņa – Bertulsone, Executive Director at the American Chamber of Commerce, said in the interview to BNN.

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