Latviski English По-русски
Wednesday 21.08.2019 | Name days: Linda, Janīna

BNN summary of the week: Latvian debts. Seat for Parādnieks. Budget worries

(No Ratings Yet)

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU

Debt is no brother, as the ancient proverb states. Unfortunately, Latvian residents live with this almost every day. Data from the Consumer Rights Protection Centre shows that debts of Latvian residents increase every year, forcing people to borrow more money to pay for utilities or cover other debts.

As for debtors… Politician Imants Parādnieks, though left with no Saeima deputy mandate, has managed to find a warm seat as advisor to Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš. Now he is preparing to become chairman of the council of the Social Integration Fund. NGO’s, on the other hand, are determined to prevent that by picking their own candidate.

 Meanwhile, Latvia’s government coalition is committed to making sure no one fights over division of funds from 2020 state budget. This will be a sight to see, as there are usually a lot of needs and pre-election promises to fulfil.

BNN offers you a summary of the most topical developments of the week, including topics such as: Debtors; The Unifier; No bumps; Prices Unchanged; Choose Local Products; Inflation Halt; Bear Season.


Borrow to pay off a debt? Latvian residents’ loan obligations on a rise

Last year there was an increase of the number of people who experienced problems with paying back their loans and who were forced to push back loan repayments three or more times, said head of Consumer Rights Protection Centre (PTAC) Baiba Vītoliņa at a press-conference on Tuesday, 6 August.

With each passing year the size of loan commitments of Latvian residents increase, said Vītoliņa, adding that the volume of loans issued by non-banking credit institutions had increased 7.29% or EUR 43 million last year.

The total volume of loans issued by non-banking institutions in 2018 was EUR 640 million.

The most rapid increase was observed for distance (42%) and consumer loan (20%) segment, as well as leasing (30%).

Full article here


Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU

Saeima deputy Imants Parādnieks

NGOs against Parādnieks becoming chairman of Social Integration Fund

Non-government organizations (NGO) represented in the Social Integration Fund (SIF) council may propose their own candidate for the post of the chairman, as admitted by members of NGOs.

NGOs are represented in the council by Health and Social Service Artemīda board chairperson Jolanta Eihentāle, European Latvian Union representative in Latvia Rinalds Gulbis, association Kim? CEO Laima Ruduša, association Kurzeme NGO support centre board chairperson Inese Siliņa and association Education Initiatives Centre director Daiga Zaķe.

Eihentāle notes that in accordance with SIF rules, council chairperson and their deputy are picked and dismissed though a closed vote by council members during official meetings. Rules mention that any council member has the right to propose their own or other council members’ chosen candidates.

«NGOs represented in SIF council are currently discussing the topic of picking an NGO representative for the chairman’s post,» admits Eihentāle.

SIF board member and CEO of ‘Kim?’ Contemporary art centre Ruduša hopes it will be possible to pick their candidate for the chairman’s post. «I hope we will be able to do that. We will see how much say we have and if there is enough time to reach an agreement,» said Ruduša.

She also said that she is not happy with conservative politics entering SIF council. According to her, NGOs were ignored and weren’t even asked to provide their opinion.

Full article here


Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU

Coalition tax policy development committee adopts a common position

The Coalition Tax Policy Development Committee has adopted a common position, stating that during the preparation of the 2020 state budget, parties forming the coalition in Latvia will cooperate and that the next year’s budget will be result of joint work, not mutual competition, says the committee’s head, Finance Ministry’s parliamentary secretary Atis Zakatistovs.

He explains that this means parties will try to avoid unnecessary dynamics, when one of the parties forming the coalition try to exact their promises at the expense of other partners. When asked if he has any specific parties in mind, Zakatistovs said no.

He reveals that the committee will assess the possible fiscal impact of the steps associated with the 2020 budget process and no-taxable minimum and minimal wage increase, the initiative in real estate tax and VAT reduction in two industries.

The politician notes that Finance Ministry has been asked to prepare different scenarios for the increase of non-taxable minimum and minimal wage next year and three years from now.

Full article here


Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU

Lithuanian efforts to lower supermarket prices yet to bring results

Worried about high food prices in Lithuanian supermarkets, the country’s government has sought to reduce them with series of measures. Yet, the prices have grown by 3.5 percent over the past six months.

Lithuanian public broadcaster LRT reports that the government has set up a website to compare supermarket prices in 2019, and given institutions more powers to act. For example, the Lithuanian Competition Council can now compare deals between retailers and suppliers.

Skirmantas Malinauskas, an adviser to the Lithuanian Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis commented: «We hear echoes from retailers that the situation has changed. Maybe it’s because the supermarket chains think that the risk [of manipulating prices] is too big and the abuse [of the market position] has decreased. (..) [The measures] paid off, because we have started speaking about transparency» in pricing.

Full article here


Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU

Cross-border trade between Latvia and Estonia declines

Estonia’s Finance Minister Martin Helme has announced that excise tax revenue from the first month after the rate’s reduction has increased 40% when compared to July 2018, whereas cross-border trade with Latvia has reduced.

«As we can see, excise tax revenue in January, March, May and June was below previous budget expectations. Prior to tax reduction there was a downward pointed tendency for revenue,» Helme announced on social network sites.

June’s decline of revenue is associated with the expected excise tax rate reduction, said the minister.

«In July, we had observed inexplicable exceeding of predictions when compared to both budget estimates and spring’s estimates. The increase when compared to last year’s July was 40%. For strong alcohol it was 174%,» reports Estonia’s finance minister.

He added that cross-border alcohol trade with Latvia has reduced.

«The numbers aren’t big, but it is worth mentioning that cross-border trade is measures in vehicle movement, not the amount of goods brought from Latvia,» the minister’s post states.

The number of Finnish tourists visiting Estonia has increased by a couple of percent, whereas the amount of goods they purchase has doubled. The situation is the opposite on the border with Latvia – the number of Estonian residents travelling to Latvia has declined more slowly than the amount of goods they purchase, Helme reports.

He added that alcohol prices in Estonia had declined in July. August is expected to continue this trend.

Full article here


Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU

July’s inflation in Latvia reported at 2.9%

Compared to July 2018, the average level of consumer prices rose by 2.9 % in July 2019. Prices of goods have increased by 2.9 % and prices of services by 2.8 %.

Compared to 2015, consumer prices have risen by 8.7 %.

Prices of goods have increased by 7.0 % and prices of services by 13.0 % in July 2019.

Compared to July 2018, in July 2019 the average level of consumer prices was mainly influenced by the rise in prices of food and non-alcoholic beverages, alcoholic beverages and tobacco products, goods and services related to housing, goods and services related to recreation and culture, as well as restaurant and hotel services, according to data from the Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia.

Over the year, prices within the group of food and non-alcoholic beverages increased by 4.2 %. Prices of vegetables (rise of 16.8 %) had the strongest upward influence on the average price level within the group. During the year, increase was recorded also in prices of bread (of 9.7 %), flours and other cereals (14.5 %), bakery products (3.5 %), and pasta products (5.8 %).

An upturn was registered in prices of pork (of 11.2 %), dried, salted or smoked meat (3.1 %), meat products (9.1 %), eggs (5.8 %), chocolate (5.4 %), yoghurt (4.7 %), milk products (1.6 %), as well as fruit and vegetable juices (4.4 %). Decline, in turn, was recorded in prices of coffee (of 4.7 %), poultry (2.0 %), as well as cheese and curd (1.9 %).

Full article here


Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU

Bear hunt starts in Estonia as hunters warn of expanding bear territories

Bear hunting has commenced in Estonia. A practice, which would seem surprising to many European countries with small bear populations, is, however, seen as necessary by hunters in the Baltic country.

Estonian public broadcaster ERR reports that bear hunt in Estonia begun on August 1.

Hunter Peeter Hussar explained to ERR’s Vikerraadio on Monday, August 5, that because the number of bears in Estonia has recently increased, young animals quickly run out of territory and are forced closer to human settlements.

According to the hunter, the status of bears is different from other animals, as the European Union recognizes them as threatened species, while in Estonia bears are hunted to keep their number under control and prevent damage.

Full article here

Leave a reply

Subsidies to controversial Riga transport company could increase by EUR 20 mln

Amid the criticism of the Riga municipal transport company Rīgas satiksme for its losses and their effect on the Latvian state budget, a plan has been voiced to increase its subsidies, now 120 million euros, by another 20 million euros, Latvian Radio reports.

Latvian Minister keeping adviser detained by corruption watchdog for now

Latvian Agriculture Minister Kaspars Gerhards will clarify the reason, why his advisor and the mayor of the city of Ogre, Egils Helmanis, has been detained by corruption investigators, to decide on keeping him in office.

Trump, Macron willing to readmit Russia to G7, despite Crimea annexation

The leaders of France and the United States have expressed their backing to readmitting Russia to the G7 conference of world powers in 2020, despite Ukraine’s Crimea still being held by Moscow, CNN reports.

Latvian excise tax income up by 8% in first half of 2018

The Latvian excise tax income in the first half of 2019 has been 521 million euros, –an increase by 39 million euros, or 8.1% – compared to the respective period last year, showed data by the Latvian State Revenue Service.

Latvian PM: Most of freely available 2020 budget funds already earmarked

Discussing the 2020 Latvian national budget, Latvian prime minister Krišjānis Kariņš pointed out that its fiscal space is limited by previous decisions and that the expected losses of the Riga transport company will not permit raising wages and pensions nationally.

Corruption watchdog detains Ogre city mayor Helmanis

The Latvian Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau has on Wednesday detained the mayor of central Latvian city of Ogre, Egils Helmanis, according to LETA news agency.

New members to Freeport of Riga Authority elected, despite criticism

The Riga City Council elected to the Board of the Freeport of Riga Authority, mayor Oļegs Burovs and councilman Sandris Bergmanis, despite heavy criticism of the latter for incompetence and lack of vision.

Italy loses government, coalition of right-wing, anti-establishment parties collapses

Italy has lost its government with Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announcing resignation after the right-wing League party pushed for no-confidence motion to its own government.

Kaljulaid opposed to Estonian minister after police chief scandal

Alleging that Estonian Interior Minister Mart Helme has violated the law by trying to sack top police chief, Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid has stated that the minister has no place in the government.

Planned Latvian economic cases’ court conceptually backed by government

The plan by the Latvian Ministry of Justice to establish a court of economic cases has on Tuesday, August 20, been supported by the Latvian Cabinet of Ministers.

Riga deputy mayor posts go to Harmony and independent politician

In the Riga City Council, deputy mayors have been elected with one post going to Anna Vladova from Harmony and the other – to Vadims Baraņņiks from the group of independent councilmen.

Latvia charges energy company executives for attempted fraud

Two board members of Latvian power company SIA Rīgas enerģija have been charged in a criminal case for an attempt to acquire with deceit the rights to supply electricity as part of the mandatory procurement component programme.

Consumer protection: 34% of Latvians admit post-vacation financial difficulties

During vacation, 77% of Latvians spend more money than planned, but 34% admit having trouble making ends meet after vacation, according to a poll by the Latvian Consumer Protection Centre.

Firms like Riga transport company to be banned from working with losses, minister says

As the European Union’s statisticians have classified the Riga municipal transport company Rīgas satiksme in the debt of the national budget, it is planned in Latvia to prohibit such companies from working with losses, Latvian Finance Minister Jānis Reirs has told LNT 900 sekundes programme.

Minor dies in large fire in Latvia

An underage person has been found dead in a large fire in the Latvian region of Vidzeme, the Latvian Fire and Rescue Service has said. Person wascsaved from burning house in Liepāja.

UK aims to end free entry of EU citizens on October 31

UK to stop free migration from European Union member states to the country right after the likely no-deal Brexit on October 31, the British government has stated.

Riga city elects new mayor – Oļegs Burovs – and restores decade-old coalition

The Riga City Council has elected Oļegs Burovs as the new mayor, ending two months of political discussions and restoring the coalition that has ruled in the Latvian capital for ten years.

EU: Rīgas satiksme cuts Latvian budget fiscal room in 2020 by 72 mln EUR

The Riga city company Rīgas satiksme should, according to European Union criteria, be in included in the general government sector, thus it would cut the fiscal space of the 2020 Latvian state budget by 72 million euros, Finance Ministry stated.

Latvijas Krājbanka’s administrator recovered 542 thousand euros in July

The administrator of the insolvent Latvian bank Latvijas Krājbanka recovered 524 444 euros in July, which is by 75% more than a month earlier, according to the official gazette Latvijas Vēstnesis.

Latvian post-reform administrative centres to have 2 000 - 630 000 populations

After the planned administrative reform of Latvia, the population size of the administrative centres of the new municipalities is expected to vary from 2 000 to 632 000 people, according to a conceptual report by the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development.

A week of warm, but changing weather forecast for Latvia

Weather in Latvia this week is expected to be summer-like and warm, with rain expected on Thursday and Friday, according to the Latvian Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre.

Kabul wedding terror attack committed by Islamic State, the group says

Responsibility for the terror attack in Afghanistan, where explosives killed 63 people. has been claimed by the Afghan branch of the Islamic State terrorist group.

British Gibraltar releases seized Iran oil tanker

An Iranian oil tanker detained by Gibraltar, part of the United Kingdom, has sailed away from port after being allowed to do so despite Washington’s call to detain it again.

BNN summary of the week: Latvia’s biggest budget; PNB Bank halts operations; Latvia sad with Latvia

Some positive news surfaced in Latvia this week – Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš announced that the country’s next budget will be the largest one yet and will exceed EUR 10 billion. In spite of this, however, financial difficulties have been observed – PNB Bank has ended up in a tight spot. The bank’s shortage of funds has forced Finance and Capital Market Commission to halt all of the bank’s financial operations.

Week in Lithuania: PM Skvernelis undergoes surgery, Nausėda meets Merkel, rebukes Latvia

Last week, President Gitanas Nausėda rejected the government’s candidate for EU judge, hints of big changes at Šiaulių Bankas ahead

Newest comments