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Wednesday 20.03.2019 | Name days: Made, Irbe
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BNN summary of the week: distorted state administration, Liepājas metalurgs recovery, and Latvia's unemployment level

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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; Growth; Business; Fight; Future; Opinion

CHANGE: Nurses’ wages up 50-70%, but still far from competitive

Wages of nurses of Pauls Stradins Clinical University Hospital have grown 50-60%. However, there is still a long way to go before they become competitive, said Stradins Hospital’s head nurse Eva Cela in an interview to Latvijas Radio.

While in the past nurses in Stradins Hospital were paid EUR 500 to EUR 600 for a full shift, now they are paid EUR 1,000 to EUR 1,500. At the same time, wages remain too low to be considered competitive, admits Cela, adding that the average wage of nurses in Europe ranges between EUR 3,000 and EUR 5,000.

Cela says it seems to her that Healthcare Minister Anda Čakša’s priority is finding additional funding for this goal.

According to her, the minister has commenced a powerful reform in healthcare, which is necessary. Cela believes Čakša is the only one of the last several healthcare ministers that has provided considerable support to raise the prestige of the nurse’s profession. The ministry has several work groups working on solutions to raise standards of the nurse profession.

She also says that last year she signed documents for nurses wishing to work abroad nearly every day. This year, however, there was only one.

Full article here

GROWTH: Barometer data shows residents with higher education are more optimistic job-seekers

53% of interviewed residents believe the possibility of finding a decent job and making a good earning in Latvia is poor, and this worsens their financial situation. Because of that, residents leave the country in search of greener pastures, according to results of Baltic International Bank’s latest Latvian Barometer.

It is worth mentioning, however, that residents with higher education are more optimistic in this matter than residents who lack higher education, as concluded in the survey.

When asked to score their family’s financial state, residents with higher education were more optimistic in their replies – 26% said their family’s state is good. Residents with secondary education, on the other hand, are more negative – 27% said their family’s financials state is poor. Only 14% of respondents with higher education said their family’s financial state is poor, according to results of the study.

When asked to assess the current state of Latvia’s labour market, the majority of respondents said the possibility of finding work is poor. 63% of respondents with primary education and almost as many respondents with secondary or vocational education stated as much. Residents who have higher education are more optimistic, but even in this category 36% of respondents voiced a critical opinion.

Full article here

BUSINESS: British Steel says it is interested in Liepājas metalurgs’ recovery, not asset purchase

The consortium consisting of British Steel, Greybull Capital and Estonian Baltic Metal Holding is interested in KVV Liepājas metalurgs’ recovery, not the purchase of its assets, says Greybull Capital partner Daniel Goldstein.

He refused to go into detail as to why the consortium exited from last year’s KVV Liepājas metalurgs sale process. He did say that ‘now there may be an option to perform the company’s purchase in a constructive way’. This is why the consortium voiced the desire to purchase all of KVV Liepājas metalurgs’ property together earlier this year. «The previous approach was auctioning off assets. We were not interested in such a process. We are interested in creating a business. Business and assets are different things. For a business to form successfully, all interested sides should actively participate. This is what we are hoping for. Assets are important, but they are not decisive. If you have assets, it does not mean you’ll be successful,» said Goldstein.

He admits that there isn’t a clear action plan in relation to Liepājas metalurgs’ already auctioned off assets.

Full article here

FIGHT: Latvian Saeima’s committee does not support Kušners’ re-approval in Bank of Latvia council

On Thursday, 17 May, Saeima’s Budget and Finance Committee decided not to recommend Edvards Kušners for a repeated term in the council of the Bank of Latvia.

Three deputies voiced support for Kušners – Imants Parādnieks, Inguna Sudraba and Juris Viļums. Three deputies – Jānis Vucāns, Aleksandrs Kiršteins and Edgars Putra – voted against. Deputy Renārs Putniņš abstained in the vote, and Igors Pimenovs was absent.

After interviewing Kušners last week, deputies decided to take a pause in this matter. Most of the questions Kušners was asked were associated with events of 2005. At the time, he was deputy chief of the Legal Affairs Office of the Bank of Land. He was later appointed as an authorized person to Delaware-registered company Carew Estates LLC.

Full article here

FUTURE: Certus prepares recommendations for political parties’ economic programmes

«The number of economically active residents in Latvia continues to decline. Economic growth remains directly dependent on inflow of EU funds. The country chronically lacks money for education, healthcare and roads. It is clear that traditional economic thinking no longer works. The time has come for a new approach based around priority directions and cooperation between the public and private sectors. If political parties truly want to end the outflow of residents and emptying of the country’s regions, as well as achieve rapid economic growth and ensure a high welfare level for Latvia, they should consider alternative economic development models and include them in their programmes,» says Certus manager Vjacheslavs Dombrovskis.

In preparation for upcoming Saeima elections, Certus is busy preparing recommendations for political parties’ economic programmes. Recommendations will be based on the think tank’s vision for Latvia’s development – ‘Latvija 2022: 3+3 model’.

Full article here

OPINION: KPV LV believes Latvia has too many industry councils, which distorts state administration

Latvia has too many industry councils, which distorts state administration. The coalition council should be liquidated entirely, says KPV LV co-chairman Atis Zakatistovs.

«KPV LV’s analytical group has found that there are roughly 160 councils in Latvia. The mother of all of them is the Coalition Council. This has resulted in a situation when people in councils anonymously secure themselves beneficial solutions in state administration matters. The council is used as a lobby that distorts Latvia’s government. The Coalition Council should be liquidated because it is neither covered by the Constitution nor the Saeima’s Internal Order. In addition, this council only degrades public discussions,» says Zakatistovs.

KPV LV also wants to see fewer ministries in Latvia. ‘There are currently thirteen ministries. We intend to leave only seven together with the prime minister’s office,’ as stated in the political party’s pre-election programme. KPV LV promises to replace ministries with non-political secretariats.

Full article here


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Latvian minister: we should work with convicts, not isolate them

People who are currently isolated from society in prisons should not be kept isolated – they should be allowed to re-socialize, said Latvian Justice Minister Jānis Bordāns at a press-conference about the study on former inmates’ abilities to re-socialize.

Brexit extension: Theresa May won’t as for more than 50 days

British Prime Minister Theresa May wants only a short Brexit term extension that will not exceed 50 days, as reported by The Guardian.

Business Index: 56.7% of businessmen in Latvia believe government hurt businesses

When asked about the influence Latvia’s government has on the country’s entrepreneurship, 56.6% of interviewed businessmen said the government interferes with the sector, whereas only 7.3% said the government provides assistance, according to results of Turība University’s Business Index.

Moody’s affirms Latvian energy company Latvenergo’s credit rating at Baa2

International credit rating agency Moody’s has affirmed the credit rating of Latvian energy company AS Latvenergo at Baa2 with a stable future outlook, as stated in Latvienergo’s announcement.

Teachers’ protest in Riga gathers 2,000 people

The protest act organized by Latvian teachers outside the Saeima building in Riga gathered approximately 2,000 people, according to Latvian public media.

Latvian Competition Council looks into scandalous «nano-water» case

The Competition Council in Latvia has acquired information regarding the so-called nano-water case, suggesting that municipal public transport company SIA Rīgas satiksme had taken part in a cartel agreement, coordinating an offer of one of the contenders and informing the company in advance of the happenings to ensure their victory in the procurement.

Latvian minister: EU cannot move away from multi-sided trade rules

The European Union cannot afford moving away from multi-sided trade rules, said Latvian Foreign Affairs Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs, participating in a meeting of the General Affairs Council in Brussels.

Latvian Prime Minister says MPC abolishment on 31 March may cost EUR 1 billion

If the mandatory procurement component system is abolished on 31 March, this could cost the country around EUR 1 billion, said Latvian Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš in an interview to LTV programme Rīta Panorāma.

Latvian politicians fail to find a way to increase wages for teachers yet again

A day before teachers’ planned protest act Latvian politicians failed to convince Latvian Trade Union of Education and Science Employees about the options to find money to increase wages of teachers this year. With that, teachers intend to go through with the plan to hold a protest on Wednesday, 20 March.

Latvia’s 2020 budget draft sent to the parliament for first viewing

On Tuesday, 19 March, Latvian Saeima’s Budget and Finance Committee conceptually supported this year’s state budget project and decided to submit it to the parliament for its first viewing. The committee decided to submit 14 additional legislative drafts associated with the budget, as reported by Saeima’s press-service.

Minister: Latvia needs representatives in EP the country can be proud of

«Latvian voters should keep in mind that Latvia is represented by only eight members in the European Parliament. It is vital to find candidates we would not be ashamed of. There is no other recipe – if you want to affect the composition of the European Parliament, it is important to remember that results from votes. Nothing will change if we stand on the sidelines,» said Latvian Culture Minister and MEP candidate Dace Melbārde in an interview to BNN.

Rigvir medication distribution in Latvia halted temporarily

Bio-technology company Rigvir has decided to halt distribution of Rigvir medication in Latvia temporarily, as confirmed by Rigvir Group CEO Kristīne Jučkoviča.

Finance commission’s head says Latvia has too many banks for its small market

It is clear there are too many banks for Latvia’s domestic market, said chairman of Finance and Capital Market Commission Pēteris Putniņš in an interview to LTV programme Rīta Panorāma on Tuesday, 19 March.

Latvian residents become more optimistic about government’s work

In one month’s time Latvian residents’ opinion of Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš’s government has improved, according to data from SKDS study.

Dutch authorities arrest Utrecht tram shooter

According to Dutch authorities, the man who opened fire in a tram in Utrecht, killing three and injuring five, has been arrested.

Parliament: Latvian universities should be among 500 best in the world

Latvia’s leading universities have a clear vision for the future. It is topical for continued development of the country’s education and science sector.

Latvian minister to request police investigation in public transport company

Latvia’s Environment Protection and Regional Development Ministry has finished its analysis of the audit performed in municipal public transport company SIA Rīgas satiksme. Soon the ministry plans to ask law enforcement institutions to provide their opinion on whether or not there had been fictive employment or other violations committed by the company, as reported by TV3 news.

Latvian prime minister urges sorting the system, not raising taxes

A number of sectors require reforms to avoid raising taxes to increase revenue, said Latvian Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš during a meeting of Saeima’s Budget and Finance Committee on Monday, 18 March.

Stoltenberg calls NATO the most successful alliance in world history

NATO is the strongest, most successful alliance in history, wrote NATO’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in an article dedicated to the expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

Heavy rainfall in Indonesia causes floods and landslides; death toll reaches 77

Approximately 77 people have been killed in mountain villages hit by floods and landslides caused by intense rainfall in Indonesia’s Papua Province, according to the latest information reported by Indonesian authorities.

Number of job vacancies in Latvia up 33.4% in 2018

In 2018, there were 22.7 thousand job vacancies in Latvia, which is 5.7 thousand vacancies or 33.4 % more than in 2017.

Swedbank: more than 1,400 Latvian families purchased property in regions last year

In 2018, Swedbank had issued more than 1,400 loans for property purchases within 50 km radius around Riga. This is an average of six loans issued every work day, as reported by Swedbank representative Jānis Krops.

Minister: Latvia may require radical image change because of finance sector’s problems

Considering the problems in the country’s finance sector, it will be necessary to work on radically changing the country’s image, says Latvian Foreign Affairs Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs.

Riga Mayor’s wife suspected of dubious employed in public water supply company

For eight years Riga Mayor Nils Ušakovs’ office manager Iveta Strautiņa-Ušakova worked as a consultant for municipal water supply company Rīgas Ūdens, as reported by LTV investigative journalism programme De Facto.

Latvian Centre Party to take part in European Parliament elections

A list of candidates compiled by Centre Party from Latvia has been submitted for European Parliament elections. The list is composed of fifteen candidates. This makes it the fifth list of candidates to be submitted for EP elections in Latvia so far, as reported by Central Election Commission.