bnn.lv Latviski   bnn-news.com English   bnn-news.ru По-русски
Sunday 22.10.2017 | Name days: Irīda, Īrisa
LatviaLatvia

Programme: Kucinskis breaches his own commitments

FaceBook
Twitter
Draugiem
print
(No Ratings Yet)

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUAt the beginning of the year Latvian President Raimonds Vejonis entrusted the formation of the Cabinet of Ministers to Maris Kucinskis. The Saeima approved his government on 11 February. It was clear from the formation process that the government would not have an easy time, as reported by Nekā personīga programme of TV3.

«What is most paradoxical in this situation is that discussions were being held for years about different reforms in education, healthcare, economy and other areas, but no decisions were being made. It means the executive power lacked political will or the freedom to make brave and important decisions. As a result – we were delayed. We were delayed as a country. We got stuck in bureaucratic nuisances and the desire to please everyone,» – Kucinskis said at the 11 February Saeima meeting before the vote.

Kucinskis’ government is best described with the word boredom. Only some ministers stand out in the grey background: chess player Dana Reizniece-Ozola, probability theory specialist Karlis Sadurskis and spare time photographer Dzintars Rasnacs.

It was only possible to make Unity’s education reform active through countless trials and scandals. The healthcare reform governed by the party of the prime minister, meanwhile, is at a standstill. Guntis Belevics left the government at the beginning of summer. He left because of the scandal involving him receiving medical services outside of the proper waiting and paying order. He later lied about the whole story. Healthcare sector, meanwhile, is looking for a way out to resolve the most important matters troubling it – where to find at least EUR 700 million and how to make the system more effective. Efficiency also means narrowing down service accessibility and closure of small hospitals. Kucinskis’ government seems unable to resist municipalities’ lobby efforts. Reform has not even begun and certain regional hospitals are already promised immunity. Health is a priority in words alone, as the government is unable to allocate even a few additional millions, even if lives are at stake.

Finance Minister Dana Reizniece-Ozola is also a source of worries for the prime minister. Shortly after taking office she began a witch hunt in the State Revenue Service by creating secret lists of dishonest workers. SRS Director General Inara Petersone could not fight back and decided to step down. According to her, Kucinskis should have stepped in and stopped the destruction of SRS’ authority.

Not a single worthwhile candidate applied to replace Petersone. Because of that, Reizniece-Ozola decided to propose the director of the State Environmental Service Inga Kolegova without announcing a candidate selection process. As it turned out, Kolegova had problems with her income declaration. UGF with Kucinskis at the helm tried blaming Unity for shooting down Kolegova, but they did too much in the end – Kolegova withdrew on her own. She remains the head of SES. Meanwhile, Finance Police continues looking into her declaration.

The State Chancellery announced a new candidate selection process. This time the government decided to tempt potential candidates with promises of a larger wage. SRS is now the responsibility of Ilze Cirule. She now has to decide on lying off several hundred employees to find money for the wage reform. Other problematic matters include the merging of Finance and Customs Police offices and their mutual differences.

The situation is even worse with the search for the new head of the Corruption Prevention Combating Bureau. The selection process failed because none of the ten contenders made it to the second stage. This includes Yaroslav Strelchenok, the current head of KNAB. Kucinskis was shocked with such an outcome and ordered authorities to review the order of approval of the head of KNAB. That never happened. Instead it was decided to reduce requirements for potential candidates.

On 1 December, Maris Kucinskis sorrowfully admitted that uncertainty is the most often used criticism in relation to the country’s economy. Six days later he singlehandedly caused chaos in taxes.

Changes to the Social Tax approved one year ago are expected to come into force 1 January. These changes state that all employed people will have to pay social tax from their salary. This includes part-time workers, micro-enterprise workers and farm workers. Only at the end of the year did politicians finally understand that this change would impact a wide range of people. Micro-enterprises will lose their attractiveness and will be likely forced to lay off employees and go bankrupt.

Aija Barca’s led Social and Employment Matters Committee rushed to create a list of people who will be able to work without paying full social tax. The list turned out so large it was impossible to realize.

This week, Maris Kucinskis unexpectedly announced that the law would not come into force. Next year’s expected problems are bigger than the chaos such a decision has already caused. He blames SRS for not preparing for changes and Laimdota Straujuma’s government for not considering the consequences of this decision.

The biggest problem of this government is the decline of the rate of economic development, which could potentially lead to a crisis. Kucinskis promises growth close to 4-5% in the next couple of years. Unfortunately, nothing really points to such a scenario. GDP growth outlook has dropped to 1% this year. Next year, when an inflow of EU funds is expected in Latvia, GDP will grow by a mere 3%, Bank of Latvia predicts.

In addition, the government cannot hold back the appetite of members of its political parties. The Saeima has allocated more than EUR 20 million of budget funds for different projects seemingly unrelated to the state budget, the programme reports.

Ref: 102.109.109.6001


Leave a reply

Professor: by taking money away from science, the state shoots itself in the foot

The matter regarding insufficient funding for science has recently become more topical in the public space. President of Latvian Academy of Sciences Ojārs Spārītis is rather critical of the situation: Latvia has lied to the European Union and European Commission about making sure that funding for science reaches 1.5% of GDP by 2020.

To prevent fraud, audit of MPC recipients to be performed in Latvia

Latvian Economy Ministry intends to perform an audit of mandatory procurement component recipients and use new regulations to combat fraudulent activities, as confirmed by Economy Minister Arvils Ašeradens.

Rail Baltic procurements to be processed using Electronic Procurements System

Following the changes to Latvian Republic’s Public Procurements Law, all new procurements for Rail Baltica administered by RB RAIL will be processed using a free electronic information system and its e-contest subsystem.

Estonian construction price index pushed up by wages

The construction price index in Estonia has in July-September of 2017 increased by 0.9% in comparison to second quarter this year and by 1.7% from July-September of 2016, Estonian statisticians have estimated.

Surplus of Latvia’s government budget reached 9.5 million euros in 2016

In 2016 general government budget surplus accounted for EUR 9.5 million or 0.04 % of the Gross Domestic Product, whereas general government consolidated gross debt amounted to EUR 10 091.6 million or 40.6 % of the GDP.

Latvia to invest EUR 5.9 million into formation of unified port network

Ports of Riga planning region and Kurzeme planning region have commenced an important tourism project. The goal of this project is creating a unified yacht port network in Latvia and Estonia with quality services that would allow developing sailing tourism and attract foreign sailing enthusiasts in the future, reports the regions’ representative Inese Ozoliņa.

Graft-suspected Tartu deputy mayors resign

In Estonia's second largest city, Tartu, Deputy Mayors Artjom Suvorov and Valvo Semilarski have stepped down from office, Estonian press reported, after the politicians were arrested under suspicion of graft.

Expert: workers of Latvia’s NGO sector have high ‘burnout’ risk

Workers of Latvia’s NGO sector have a high burnout risk, said once the director of Providus Dace Akule in an interview to Latvijas Radio.

Producer: many young people come to work in the film industry

Latvia’s film industry has been steadily growing these past several years, and it is especially gratifying that many young people are coming to work in the industry, says director and producer, representative of Film Angels Productions Jānis Kalējs.

Pollution blamed for every sixth premature death globally

Nine million premature deaths globally in 2015 are said to be related to pollution, a study has found pointing to presence of harmful matter in air, water and workplace as the three main risk factors.

Infectologist: influenza kills biologically the weakest, including children and pregnant women

Influenza is an infection that affects both children and adults. However, it kills those who are biologically weak, says Immunization State Council chairperson and infectologist of Children’s Vaccination Centre Dace Zavadska.

Investor activity made easier between Latvia and Vietnam

An intergovernmental agreement has been signed between the Republic of Latvia and Socialist Republic of Vietnam on prevention of double taxation and tax avoidance in relation to income tax.

Colder masses of air to enter Latvia in coming days; precipitation to be limited

Although high atmospheric pressure will be present above Latvia in the coming days, southern regions in Latvia will experience short-term precipitation on Saturday, 12 October, caused by the cyclone active above Poland. Colder masses of air will enter Latvia in the coming days.

Maltese journalist said to be killed by remotely-controlled explosive

Officials in Malta have unveiled it is assumed that investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was murdered by an explosive places under her car, which was detonated remotely.

Prime Minister: Latvia cannot accept additional asylum seekers

Latvia cannot afford to resettle additional asylum seekers, said Prime Minister Māris Kučinskis during his meeting with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Thursday, 19 October.

Scandinavians purchase tourism company in Lithuania; changes expected in Latvia too

Dutch Otravo online travel organization has expanded and has purchased Lithuanian online travel agency Interno Partneris, thereby entering the Baltic market.

Ombudsman: non-citizen status matter should be resolved in next decade

The next ten years may be the transition period to ‘put an end’ to the non-citizen status in Latvia, said ombudsman Juris Jansons in an interview to LTV programme Rīta panorama.

Swedish Foreign Minister: harassment exists at highest political level

The Foreign Affairs Minister of Sweden, Margot Wallström, has commended the current sexual assault and harassment awareness campaign in social media and urged to fellow politicians to address the problem.

Latvenergo recognized as Latvia’s most valuable company for tenth time

Latvenergo has been recognized as Latvia’s most valuable company in 2017. Its value grew 34% in comparison with 2016, according to the TOP 101 list of Latvia’s most valuable companies compiled by Prudentia and Nasdaq Riga.

Number of births and number of deaths decline in Latvia

During the first nine months of this year 15,723 babies were born in Latvia, which is 1,113 children fewer than in the corresponding period of the last year.

CC applies binding conditions for the sale of MTG Broadcasting AB

Latvian Competition Council has decided to permit Bite Lietuva to purchase MTG Broadcasting AB group’s businesses in Latvia. CC has applied several binding conditions to prevent a possible impact on competition on the television services and advertisement market.

Eesti Energia warns: Limiting CO2 emissions on capacity could endanger energy supply

Estonian energy giant Eesti Energia has evaluated that a plan under discussion in the European Union to introduce a carbon dioxide release limit for capacity mechanisms to qualify for subsidies could adversely affect the security of supply in Estonia and the Baltic states.

Solidarity tax norm recognized as non-compliant with Latvia’s Constitution

On Thursday, 19 October, the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Latvia declared the Solidarity tax norm as non-compliant with the country’s Constitution.

Survey: Riga residents go to the doctor’s the most often

34% of residents undergo regular health checks, according to Mana Aptieka & Apotheka health index. In addition, women are twice as serious about health checks as men.

LG cozies up with idea of rebuilding railway tracks to Reņģe, Latvia

Lithuania‘s Lietuvos Geležinkeliai has sent a mixed message as to what it intends to do next following an EC fine of nearly 28 million against it over the dismantling a 19-km railway stretch with the Latvian village of Rengė.