Latviski English По-русски
Friday 24.11.2017 | Name days: Velta, Velda

Riga Freeport plans enormous expenses; Christmas tree for EUR 41,000

(No Ratings Yet)

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUIn spite of the tension in relations with Russia and sanctions that have been introduced against it, the management board of Riga Freeport has compiled a budget for 2015 that provides for an increase of cargoes and exceptionally increased expenses for their own needs – new cars and Christmas shows for employees, as well as an advertisement programme for EUR 1.5 million.

Representatives of Riga City Council support this budget project because they trust Leonid Loginov’s calculations, as reported by Nekā personīga programme of TV3.

A few years ago, State Audit had pointed to Riga Freeport’s unreasonable expenses. It has been calculated that the management board of Riga Freeport had misappropriated a total of EUR 41 million over the course of 2009-2011. A lot of money was given away for bonuses, gifts and life insurance. The management board promised to fix everything and take into account all recommendations. However, taking into account this budget plan, it seems nothing has changed. Expenses continue to grow, as do employees’ requirements for comfort.

Riga Freeport’s budget for next year provides for the allocation of EUR 50,000 for different health services, EUR 41,000 for a Christmas tree and EUR 25,000 for the procurement of sports equipment. The Freeport also plans enormous expenses on procurement of different types of equipment: EUR 18,000 for tablets; EUR 33,000 for notebooks; EUR 31,000 for PCs and EUR 16,000 for servers. Car park expansion is set to cost EUR 500,000. The port also plans to spend EUR 1.2 million on the construction of a new Port Police building.

The port also plans large expenses for the needs of Riga: sports activities and reinforcement of Kipsala’s beaches. This year, the port spent EUR 1.2 million on this initiative. Next year’s expenses are planned at EUR 1 million.

It is also planned to invest in Kundzinsala port’s railway line. A new railway line is planned to be constructed for EUR 1.8 million. More than EUR 2 million will be spent on repairs of existing tracks and nearly EUR 1 million will be spent on the construction of access roads toward existing stevedore terminals.

The management board of the port explains the need to invest in port railway with the necessity to attract new cargoes. Renovations of Kipsala are justified with the port’s responsibility before Riga. Another reason for expenses is a line on the map.

«This is the border of the Freeport, these rotted beams will be restored, which means we will be able to sort out Daugava’s riverbank. Ten metres off Daugava River is the port – the line we see within the port’s border, the rest is city territory and the red line is in the port’s competency,» – said Chairman of Riga Freeport board Andris Ameriks.

Four representatives of Riga City Council support the budget proposed by the freeport’s management. In order to approve it, there has to be support from one more state representative. Finance Ministry’s representative Baiba Bane criticizes this budget as inflated, Economy Ministry’s representative Artis Stucka will not take part in the next week’s meeting, because he is away on a long foreign trip and Transport Ministry’s State Secretary Kaspars Ozolins needs time to properly assess the budget. Baiba Broka from the Environmental Protection and Regional Development Ministry is likely to agree on certain parts of the budget plan. She does, however, have certain doubts about Krievu Island project.

«The construction of Kundzinsala’s railway was one of the matters that have been discussed extensively. It is part of the objectives we must reach. If it ends up increasing volumes for the existing terminal, then the economic justification behind it is reasonable,» – said Broka. She adds that the reinforcement of Kipsala is a matter of the highest priority for Environment Protection and Regional Development Ministry.

When asked if it is absolutely necessary to buy a Christmas tree for EUR 41,000, Broka said there should be measures to unite people. «And we should look at how adequate expenses really are, so that there is no exceptional misappropriation,» – said the politician.

Broka would nonetheless like to hear from the port if the heads have a Plan B in case Russia decides not to export its goods using Riga Freeport. Transport Minister Anrijs Matiss believe this is possible. Latvijas dzelzceļš has reduced its cargo turnover outlook by 20% for next year.

It would seem that Ameriks is entirely sure and throws all pretense of cautiousness out the window. Contracts have been signed, volume of cargoes on a rise and Russia needs dollars – everything will be fine. The port has increased handling fees (+6% starting with January 1st, 2015).

«In regard to Tallinn and Klaipeda, the latter’s increase will be much smaller than that of Riga; 7 % -7.5% there and 15% in Riga. […] The port has increase specific tariffs by 6%,» – said Ameriks. When asked if such measures could make Riga the most expensive port in Baltic States, he said: «St Petersburg is the most expensive, Tallinn and Klaipeda are cheaper.»

Concerns regarding the danger for Russia’s economy are voiced more and more often. Russian rouble’s decline would mean bankruptcies in all areas of the national economy, including exports. Economic activities may come to a halt. Russian coal makes up nearly two-thirds of the freeport’s cargo turnover.

During this week’s Russian business forum «Russia. New strategy» former worker of the president’s administration, Mikhail Hazin, estimated that the decline is expected to come next February or March.

«We are experiencing a rapid decline of workload in regional business centres. Rapid. People are leaving. They no longer have money to sustain their businesses. This is the first sign. The second sign is the closure of networks. It appears that the number of customers at supermarket networks in insufficient. Specific networks will be the first to close. They will be followed by networks that sell products that are not very specific. But something like lingerie is something women cannot live without. The third sign is the increase of budget deficit. This is exactly what we see right now. The fourth reason is that we clearly see the decline of economic activity in regions,» – says Russian economist Mikhail Hazin.

Even if Russia continues using Riga Freeport to export goods and even if stevedores agree to pay large port fees, Krievu Island project is a major concern for the port. The management of Riga Port has yet to reach an agreement with Riga Central Terminal regarding the relocation of business activities to Krievu Island. If this matter is not resolved by next week, there is a possibility that Europe may reduce its co-financing of this project.


Leave a reply

Saeima approves next year’s budget; more funding for health and defence

On Thursday, 23 November, the Saeima approved Latvia’s budget for 2018. Next year’s budget revenue is planned at EUR 8.75 billion, whereas expenditures are planned at EUR 8.95 billion. The largest increase of funding is planned for healthcare. Latvia’s defence budget is set to reach 2% of GDP

Ķuzis: 94% of sex crimes against children are committed by people they know

Approximately half of sex crimes committed against minors take place on the internet, said Chief of State Police Ints Ķuzis at a press-conference on protection of children against sexual violence.

European Parliament approves use of EU Solidarity Fund’s advance payments

European Parliament’s Budget Committee has approved MEP Inese Vaidere’s submitted report on the use of advance payments from the EU Solidarity Fund in 2018, as reported by European People’s Party group Latvian press and communication advisor Ģirts Salmgriezis.

Authorities unmask illegal trade of products made from protected animals

Nature Protection Office and State Police have stepped up their efforts to increase control over trade of products made from endangered and protected species in the past month. Authorities have already confiscated different goods made from animals protected in Latvia and the world.

Swedbank survey: youngsters want stability; belief in Latvian labour market grows

Stability and income predictability are two of the most important values for Latvian youngsters when planning their future jobs. According to a survey performed by Swedbank, 53% of youngsters would gladly start working in an existing company.

Myanmar and Bangladesh to sigh refugee return agreement

In South-Eastern Asia, Myanmar plans to sign an agreement with neighbouring Bangladesh on the return of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees, who have fled to the latter, while rights organisations point to atrocities committed by Myanmar's military.

Polish shipbuilder accused of bribing Port of Tallinn management

A senior executive of Remontowa Shipbuilding, a Polish shipbuilding company, is facing accusations of handing large bribes to former senior figures Port of Tallinn, the Estonian state-owned port operator.

Lībiņa-Egnere may be appointed head of Saeima’s National Security Committee

Unity member Inese Lībiņa-Egnere may be appointed as the new head of Saeima’s National Security Committee, as reported by Latvijas Avīze.

Expert: real estate transaction volume this year may reach 100 million euros

The volume of commercial real estate transactions in Baltic States may exceed EUR 1 billion. Latvia, meanwhile, remains behind its neighbouring countries because the volume of transactions in the country may reach EUR 100 million, says CEO of Colliers International Deniss Kairāns.

Finnish medication prescriptions to be valid in Estonia

In Estonia, Finland's digital prescriptions of medications will be valid from summer 2018 and vice versa – from around mid-2019.

Talks commence on restoring ferry traffic between Ventspils and Saaremaa

On Wednesday, 22 November, a delegation from Saaremaa municipality arrived at Vetnspils Freeport to discuss with representatives of Ventspils municipality and freeport the proposal to restore ferry traffic between Saaremaa and Ventspils.

Family of killed Maltese journalist take police to court

The family of the killed Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia has sued police believing that it does not perform an impartial investigation.

Saeima reduces VAT for vegetables, berries and fruits typical for Latvia

Starting 2018, a reduced VAT rate will be applied for fresh fruits, berries and vegetables in Latvia. This is provided by amendments approved by the Saeima on 22 November for Law on Value Added Tax.

Georgian anti-terrorist raid ends tragically

In the Georgian capital Tbilisi, security officers have conducted an anti-terrorist raid in an apartment, where a shoot-out has started and three suspected militants and a special forces' soldier have been killed.

Jerošenko: Ušakovs offers unhealthy policy, Harmony is used as Lembergs’ «satellite party»

«Cooperation between Harmony and Aivars Lembergs’ Union of Greens and Farmers has always existed. It existed even before Harmony first appeared in Riga City Council. The situation is the same in the Saeima, even though Concord is in the opposition. Still, in situations when one or the other matter important to Lembergs appears, one does not have to be a great politologist to notice the ties between those parties...

Bosnian Serb commander punished with life imprisonment for Srebrenica

The UN the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia handed a life imprisonment sentence to Ratko Mladić after it found the former commander of Bosnian Serb forces guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity committed in the 1990s during the Bosnian War.

EC positive about Latvia’s 2018 budget project

Based on the conclusion from the European Commission, Latvia’s budget project for 2018 fully fits conditions listed in the Stability and Growth Pact. In accordance with EC’s estimates, the structural balance of Latvia’s general budget is viewed at -1.8% of GDP. Government budget expenditures, on the other hand, are expected to grow by 7.1 percentage points.

Producer price level in Latvia declined 0.2% in October

Compared to September, the level of producer prices in Latvian industry dropped by 0.2 % in October 2017. Prices of products sold on the domestic market decreased by 0.5 %, while prices of exported products went up by 0.1 %.

Vaškevičs feels «harsh but fair» attitude from court justice system in Austria

Former deputy director of Latvia’s State Revenue Service Vladimirs Vaškevičs, who is accused of bribery and whose extradition from Austria has been a priority for Latvian authorities for some time now, says he feels «harsh but, thank God, fair» attitude from the Austrian court justice system.

Antāne: lost Russian cargoes have cost Latvia nearly 50 million in nine months

Latvia’s economy has lost nearly EUR 50 million in nine months because of missed Russian transit cargoes. While Russian Railway had approved 90% of oil and coal cargoes for transit through Ventspils port at the beginning of the year, this amount had declined to a mere 5% by September, says Baltic Association – Transport and Logistics President Inga Antāne.

In pictures: Museum of painter, Holocaust survivor Bak opened in Vilnius

In Vilnius, a museum to Jewish-Polish painter Samuel Bak has been opened. During the occupation of Lithuania by the Nazi Germany, the artist survived the Holocaust in the country.

Ratio of old people and invalids on a rise among unemployed people

The total number of unemployed people has been decreasing in recent years. However, the ratio of old people and invalids continues increasing in the ranks of unemployed people. On top of that, the number of lasting unemployed people remains high and largely unchanged in the country.

Saaremaa looking into possible ferry traffic to Latvia

The local government of the largest Estonian island is looking into possible interest of five shipping companies in opening ferry traffic between Saaremaa and Latvia.

Balta: exhaustion and overload are the most common causes for accidents at work

More than EUR 20,000 has been paid in compensations for injuries acquired at work this year so far, according to information from insurance association Balta. Compared with the same period of last year, the number of accidents has grown 40%.

Estonian town tempts population to reregister with spa in Latvia and 100 euro payment

The town of Keila, located 25 kilometres away from Tallinn, has started a one-and-a-half month campaign to motivate its residents to register back in the town as many of them have registered in the Estonian capital, which grants free public transport to its population.