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Saturday 17.03.2018 | Name days: Ģertrūde, Gerda, Gertrūde

Latvian Concerts head: ban of bonuses in state agencies should be lifted

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU, Latvian Concerts head Guntars Kirsis

Latvian Concerts head Guntars Kirsis

In terms of revenue we have hit the highest in the current economic situation, compared to the performance of the pre-crisis years. However, it does not mean the state’s policy regarding culture is arranged the way it should be, the state agency Latvian Concerts (Latvijas Koncerti) head Guntars Ķirsis told the business news portal BNN.

What are the recent key events in your sector?

April 7, this year, the agency turned five, so this is just a takeoff. Thus the question on the recent key events can be applied to this comparatively short period of time. Some of the most important events include organizing various festivals, unveiling Spīķeri concert hall, Latvian radio chorus becoming a part of Latvian Concerts, as well, as organizing Latvian culture programme in the World Expo 2010 Shanghai.

Our turnover has spiked 20 times during these five years, the staff – 5 times and listeners – 4 times.

Do you lack qualified work force?

I believe the human factor matters the most in each company. Whatever the economic conditions, we always try raising our staff’s qualification, so we do not lack employees in the key positions. Moreover, it is also because it is already long we do not rely on the system of education to prepare specialists for us, because it cannot. Of course, there are objective, economic obstacles we cannot change, but Latvian Concerts is able to ensure qualified work force to provide services.

What kind of amendments would you like to see in the legislation of Latvia?

It’s taxes definitely. Currently, the culture sector pays as much taxes as other businesses. The formula is simple. If there is a limited number of seats in a concert hall, given the existing tax burden, there are two choices – either to raise ticket prices or cancel the concert. Unfortunately, we are forced to opt for the latter and the state loses any taxes, because it is often the high tax rates destroy the event before it is even set up. Secondly, tax rates on non-residents hotel services should be cut for sure. Thirdly, the absurd ban to pay bonuses in state agencies should be lifted. If the state is asking for profit, how am I supposed to motivate, for example, the sales department?

What impact did the crisis have on the sector you represent?

In terms of revenue we have hit the highest in the current economic situation, compared to the performance of the pre-crisis years. However, I believe it is no wonder, because we have been carrying out our repertoire and marketing strategy determinately. I would be very sad if the work we have invested turned out to have been in vain.

Hopefully, we do not return to the moderate performance of the pre-crisis.

What is your assessment of the government’s policy to improve the economic situation?

I’d like to refrain from assessing the government’s performance in general. Speaking about the culture sector, I would suggest consulting specialists more, because the culture policy shows the circulation of investments in culture and benefits have not been assessed thoroughly enough from the macro-economic perspective. Not to mention the invisible value added culture brings to one’s life, which is, of course, something we could also estimate, if the economic policy makers were able to perceive and recognize such values.

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