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Wednesday 19.09.2018 | Name days: Verners, Muntis
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BNN summary of the week: collapse due to absurd decisions and Aboltina’s return to diplomacy

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUBNN offers a summary of this week’s topical news in a variety of categories: Change; Truth; Business; Future and Growth.

CHANGE: KNAB starts new inspection associated with oligarch case

Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau has commenced a new inspection associated with the so-called oligarch case. This time the inspection is about possible illegal acceptance of benefits by officials, as confirmed by KNAB management on Tuesday, 8 August.

KNAB Investigations Office Manager Ilze Kivleniece said the bureau has commenced a new inspection in relation to possible illegal acceptance of benefits by officials.

This inspection is planned to be completed within one month’s time. KNAB does not reveal the names of officials in question.

Full article here

BUSINESS: Vitol’s goal is stopping stock market quotation of LSC shares

The goal of Vitol Netherlands B.V. is stopping the quotation of Latvian Shipping Company’s shares at the stock market once the buy-back of shares is complete, said Chairman of Latvian Shipping Company Robert Kirkup.

The mandatory buy-back offer for LSC shares is currently ongoing, and Kirkup allows that not all minority shareholders will decide to sell their shares.

Kirkup comments: «I allow that there may be shareholders who will decide to keep their shares. There are definitely small shareholders who do not understand the point of the buy-back offer or have forgotten that they own shares. We saw this with the buy-back of Ventspils Nafta shares. But we do expect most minority shareholders will want to sell shares.»

He says no major changes to LSC’s operations are expected after the conclusion of the buy-back of shares.

«LSC will definitely remain a shipping company. This much will not change. We also hope our LSC Shipmanagement will attract more owners for technical management of our ships. Vitol Group has also voiced readiness to provide more ships for us if it becomes a co-owner of LSC,» Kirkup says.

Full article here

DECLINE: Average consumer price level up 2.6% in Latvia

Compared to July 2016, the average level of consumer prices increased by 2.6 % in July 2017. Prices of goods grew by 2.6 % and prices of services by 2.9 %.

Compared to July 2016, in July 2017 the greatest pressure on the price changes was put by the rise in prices of food and non-alcoholic beverages, goods and services related to housing, prices in miscellaneous goods and services group, prices of alcoholic beverages and tobacco products, as well as decline in prices of clothing and footwear, according to data from the Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia.

The average level of food and non-alcoholic beverage prices increased by 6.6 %. Rise was recorded in prices of vegetables, meat and meat products, milk products, butter, milk, cheese and curd, bakery products, fresh or chilled fish, eggs, sugar, fresh fruit, and chocolate.

Within the group of alcoholic beverages and tobacco products, the average level of prices went up by 2.7 %, which was mainly influenced by 5.4 % growth in prices of tobacco products. Prices of alcoholic beverages, of which beer, spirits and wine increased by 1.2 %.

Over the year, prices of garments dropped by 3.5 % and prices of footwear by 8.8 %.

Full article here

TRUTH: BATL says absurd decisions may cause a complete collapse in Latvia

Problems keep piling up in the transport and logistics industry, which is the second largest national economy industry in Latvia. On top of that, this industry may experience a complete collapse because of two unreasonable and absurd decisions, experts say.

The situation with dramatically declining cargoes has forced LatRailNet to increase railway tariffs by 7%, which will scare away cargoes and weaken local transporters.

It was previously reported that the government and Saeima have decided to increase excise tax for diesel fuel, ‘thereby making Latvia’s cargo transporting operations even less competitive and limiting the industry’s capabilities to attract new cargoes to replace lost Russian cargoes,’ specialists add.

«Weakening the transport and logistics industry will create a very serious fissure for Latvia’s national economy and will also impact nearly all economic fields, affecting the state budget, residents and commercial associations,» says Baltic Association – Transport and Logistics President Inga Antane.

She also notes that it has been observed since May that Russia has been gradually abandoning its previously coordinated plans and transporting considerably less cargoes than what was agreed upon. Only 27.9% of the previously planned cargoes were transported in July. On top of that, the rate at which cargoes decline continues to increase. While it was 15% on average at the beginning of the year, the rate grew to 30% in spring. Now it reaches 70%.

Full article here

GROWTH: Multiple parties support oligarch case’s publication; UGF has yet to decide

The National Alliance VL-TB/LNNK may support Unity deputy Andrejs Judins’ proposal to approve a law on publication of materials of the so-called oligarch case.

Unity and the Union of Greens and Farmers plan to hold discussions about this idea.

Unity’s Saeima faction chairperson Solvita Aboltina says Judins’ proposal will be viewed at the next faction meeting. The deputy’s proposal is innovative, and it has to be reviewed properly to make sure publication of materials of a criminal case does not impact the rule of law, said Aboltina. She added that this idea has come under fire from Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis.

When asked if the party has any plans about any more attempts to replace Inguna Sudraba in the post of chairperson of the parliamentary investigation committee for the oligarch case, Aboltina said concerns of some Unity member about the committee being formed in its current composition have been confirmed.

UGF Saeima’s faction leader Augusts Brigmanis said the following about Judins’ proposal – «the deeper in the forest we go, the more wood there is and the deeper we go, the more original the performance». Once Judins’ proposal has been phrased, it will be possible to decide on it at the next meeting of the political faction.

Full article here

FUTURE: Rinkevics and Aboltina discuss her return to diplomatic service

Latvian Foreign Affairs Minister Edgars Rinkevics and Unity Saeima faction chairperson Solvita Aboltina intend to discuss the politician’s return to the diplomatic service, said the minster’s advisor Martins Dregeris.

At the same time, Rinkevics said it is not possible to provide more detailed comments on this matter. He added that Aboltina has considerable experience working in the foreign affairs service. Aboltina also worked as the director of Foreign Affairs Ministry’s Consular Department before she began her political career. There have also been precedents in which politicians had returned to the foreign affairs service to perform diplomatic duties, which includes Foreign Ministry’s Inspector General Maris Riekstins and Latvia’s ambassador to France – Imants Liegis.

«This is nothing new, because the foreign affairs service is open for ex-diplomats. We never comment candidates until all national procedures are complete and we receive approval from other countries in regards to ambassadors,» Dregeris explains.

Full article here

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