Exactly one year after the issue of Order Nb. 2 – on Tuesday May 29, the government approved the new managing regulations for Riga and Ventspils port administrations. After two years of hesitation the 1997 Ventspils City regulations have finally been changed.
The first steps in achieving better supervision of the activities of the largest Latvian ports, in making the decision making process transparent and restoring society’s trust in both port activities and state operations have been made, Reform party (RP) reports.
With the administration of the free port coming under direct supervision of the Cabinet of Ministers, achieved via the Transport Minister, the transparency of all future decisions will be improved, because from now on the responsible ministry will be required to perform deep revisions of every decision made by the port administration, RP believes.
In order to ensure the transparency of port activities, the new regulations include several important things: firstly, two weeks after the approval of the annual report, it is required to be published on the official website of the free port. Secondly, an absolutely unacceptable norm is being thrown out of the regulations of Ventspils free port: the regulation, which allowed Board members to sign confidential contracts. These confidential contracts allowed an unacceptable situation, when Board members had the rights not to give any information even to City Council deputies. Thirdly, the regulations provide the right for merchants to present their application to the Board of the port before its initial review. Fourthly, in order not to allow unjustified use of port and administrative resources for advertisement and marketing service payments; the new regulations provide for the development of a three year port marketing program. Fifthly, all decisions made by the Board will need to be published on the official website in three days’ time after they are made. This regulation will ensure the transparency of the Board’s activities and the accessibility of these decisions for the public, a right that was unjustly denied to the public until now.
Meanwhile, to improve the united stance and cooperation of government officials in ensuring state interests in port activities, it is stated that the Transport Ministry will organize the cooperation of the representatives of the Cabinet of Ministers before each meeting. The government supported the proposal not to allow port administrators to unilaterally make decisions and take responsibility for any financial means exceeding 50 000 LVL, as it was previously planned.
It is also planned to deepen the analysis of the port management structure by involving experts from the World Bank, in order for them to provide an independent assessment of the current situation and offer proposals on how to improve effectiveness and quality of port activities in Latvia.
«The work, dedicated to realizing port reforms, is giving its first results, reflected in the government’s decisions. At the same time, in order to restore public trust for port administrations and to ensure clear, understandable and even conditions for business at ports for all businessmen as well as to guarantee profitable work of the ports and international competitiveness, the Reform party will continue its work on preparing proposals for any future steps, as well as follow closely how every approved proposal is being introduced in port management practice», – notes the advisor to the Environmental Protection and Regional Development Minister and Riga Free port Board member Inga Antane.