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Election campaign highlights lack of ideas

Sep 19, 2012
From wire reports

Election campaign highlights lack of ideas
KEEPING BUSY: Dalia Grybauskaite says that despite the elections, Seimas still has work to do.

VILNIUS - President Dalia Grybauskaite says that current Parliamentary election campaigns lack concrete ideas on how they will tackle the country’s problems, reports ELTA. “Everyone is talking about who will manage, and very little is heard on how they will manage. There is a very large number of participants, over 20 political parties, but we practically do not hear any ideas on what to do,” said the president to radio Ziniu Radijas on Sept. 18.

According to Grybauskaite, although the elections are approaching, there is still work that can be done during the current term of the Seimas. She enumerated what can be done during the current term, including “the new constitutional law on economic stability, the debate on the new 2013 budget and perhaps, if all MPs focus, its adoption.”
“Undoubtedly, the heating sector reform remains extremely painful and everyone is sensitive about it. Maybe pension reform guidelines, maybe heating sector reform should be more radical. All of this may be started, and something perhaps may be completed,” said the president.

Proposals falling on deaf ears
Gitanas Nauseda, SEB CEO’s advisor and Lithuania’s notable financial analyst, says that he doubts if political parties will make any changes to their election programs after having heard the proposals of the Lithuanian Confederation of Industrialists (LPK).
“Members of political parties, I believe, will take the industrialists’ proposals very seriously. However, the parties may find themselves in an uncomfortable situation as they hear the proposal today when their programs are already drafted (..). I doubt a lot if they will make any changes to them,” he said Monday at the business forum of the LPK.

The expert thinks that the industrialists, as a group, are very sober and pragmatic about the current situation in business. “The most important task is to ensure a proper business environment and macroeconomic stability. The question of competitiveness is becoming a question of survival. In the first quarter of this year we saw economic growth in Lithuania while the eurozone still finds itself in a recession. To my mind, one of the reasons of that has to do with competitiveness, the ability of our exporters to remain in competition despite very hard conditions,” Nauseda said.

The Lithuanian Industrialists Confederation is urging political parties to reduce the administrative burden on businesses, is recommending changing the operating principle of business regulatory authorities by placing the consultative nature of their activities as a priority.

The industrialists also think that the economic growth through increasing the country’s competitiveness must be the key priority for state policy, while the public sector must settle with business timely and properly.
“It is mandatory to improve the public procurement system, speed up digitalization of public services by giving priority to healthcare and social security systems and services provided by local governments,” said Robertas Dargis, president of the LPK.
In his view, it is important to always seek to comply with the Maastricht criteria, while tax laws should not be amended more often than in neighboring countries.

Someone is listening
Lithuanian Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius said that his Homeland Union - Lithuanian Christian Democrats (TS-LKD) is the only political party that so far has not confirmed its election program. Therefore, it will be able to take the proposals of the LPK into account.
“We have not yet approved our election program, so we will have time to entertain the industrialists’ suggestions,” he said at the LPK business forum.

TS-LKD, the biggest ruling coalition party, will present their election program Saturday.
“I believe [Dargis’] words about meeting the Maastricht criteria are very important. Indeed, a great deal of attention should be paid to improving the Lithuanian economy’s competitiveness, as well as making it more global and innovative,” the PM said to the industrialists.

Kubilius also said that one should not fear being too ambitious about the energy sector.
Lithuania’s parliamentary elections are scheduled for Oct. 14.

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