On November 2-3, the representatives of the Cabinet of Ministers of Latvia met with the Foreign Investors' Council in Latvia (FICIL) to agree on priority areas of cooperation for the next year. The Parties highlighted the fight against the shadow economy and the development of a forward-looking energy policy in line with the objectives of the European Union as very crucial tasks. FICIL and the government also discussed the efficiency of the public sector and data-based decision-making.
“Investors are welcome in Latvia, and there is a secure environment for investment. The government will take the necessary steps to ensure that investors are willing to invest in our country, thus helping Latvia become more productive, innovative, richer and exportable. The investors will be further attracted by improving the legal environment, removing bureaucratic obstacles, investing in our human capital and talents, as well as providing new solutions for digitalisation and reducing the shadow economy. This way, we will facilitate the opening of an increasing number of new companies with significantly higher added value, while the current investors would stay and further develop in Latvia. I would like to thank the Foreign Investors’ Council for the past cooperation and desire to jointly improve the business and investment environment in Latvia,” emphasises Prime Minister Evika Siliņa.
The representatives of the government of Latvia and FICIL agreed that an effective public sector is required that is adding value to economic development of the country and local governments.
In order to ensure a prompt response to economic, social and geopolitical challenges, a continuous performance assessment of public administration institutions, including local authorities needs to be made. This proves to be necessary in order to identify the best legal and institutional framework, cases of overlapping competences and knowledge gaps. It is also necessary to implement a results-based budgeting, linking the funding of programmes and measures to their outcomes and implementation. There is the need to enhance corporate governance, transparency and accountability to ensure future listing of individual capital companies of public persons.
“There are a number of issues that we have been highlighting for years, such as combating the shadow economy and the need to improve the public sector. This was not without cause – major and minor economic crises follow each other, so the economy must be sustainable and the public administration as effective as possible to ensure that various shocks do not undermine the course of development adopted by the country. One of the preconditions for long-term economic growth is, for example, the development of strong human capital to address the growing labour-related challenges. We also need to promote digital transformation to facilitate data exchange and analysis, to make data-based decisions,” noted Zlata Elksniņa-Zaščirinska, Chairperson of FICIL Board.
The participants of meeting shared the view that, over the next year, it is necessary to pursue work on the development of a predictable and stable investment environment in order to raise investor confidence and attract new investments. The rule of law, the quality of legislation and the efficiency of the courts need to be enhanced, as well as the quality of the legislative process requires further improvement. The progress is needed in the evaluation of the results of public tenders to ensure that price is not considered as the only relevant criterion.
FICIL representatives submitted six position papers to the Cabinet of Ministers with proposals and recommendations for country’s economic development, improvement of human capital, promotion of the rule of law, sustainable development, implementation of rules relating to level playing field and the future of public administration.
This was already the 27th high-level meeting between the government of Latvia and FICIL. The meetings have been held since 1999 with the aim of ensuring a structured exchange of information and views between investors and local policy makers in order to improve the business environment and facilitate the inflow of foreign investment into Latvia. Ministers, high-level civil servants and managers of FICIL member companies participate in the annual meetings of the Government of Latvia and FICIL.
Foreign Investors’ Council
The Foreign Investors’ Council is a non-governmental organisation that brings together the largest foreign companies from various sectors, the Foreign Chamber of Commerce and the Riga School of Economics (SSE Riga). FICIL’s mission is to improve Latvia’s business environment and competitiveness in attracting foreign investments, using the experience and knowledge of its members in order to provide the government with recommendations.