RIGA - To attract foreign investors, Latvia's climate and energy decisions should be taken faster, Zlata Elksnina-Zascirinska, Chair of the Foreign Investors' Council in Latvia (FICIL) Board, told the media on Friday after a high-level meeting of the government and FICIL.
Looking back and assessing the work the government has done to attract investors over the past year, Elksnina-Zascirinska said that there are areas where progress is evident, such as the work of the Treasury and the State Chancellery on the creation of a single service center, as well as work to reduce the administrative burden in the construction sector. At the same time, there are issues where decision making is delayed.
"As for the Climate and Energy Ministry, we see that things that should be taking place faster, are still in progress. Time is our enemy, because policy documents are needed so that long-term business decisions can be taken," Elksnina-Zascirinska said.
Prime Minister Evika Silina (New Unity) reassured FICIL that the government is ready to pursue a clear energy and policy and a Green Deal plan, so that investors have clarity about the government's long-term steps in this sector.
Silina also underlined that public administration in Latvia will become more flexible and open, making room for innovation and allowing entrepreneurs to take more risks.
The Latvian government and FICIL representatives agreed on the need for a constant assessment of the performance of public administration, including local authorities, to determine the best legal and institutional framework, identify overlapping competences and potential knowledge gaps. There is also a need to ensure results-based budgeting, linking the financing of programs and activities to results and delivery. Corporate governance, transparency and accountability must be improved to enable the listing of certain state-owned companies in the future.
Participants of the meeting agreed that work on a predictable and stable investment environment should continue in the coming year to increase investor confidence and attract new investment. The rule of law, the quality of legislation and the efficiency of the courts need to be strengthened, and the quality of the legislative process needs to be further improved. Improvements are also needed in the evaluation of the results of public procurement tenders so that price is not the only relevant criterion.
FICIL representatives submitted six position papers to the Cabinet of Ministers with proposals and recommendations for Latvia's economic development, human capital improvement, promotion of the rule of law, sustainable development and a level playing field, and the future of public administration.
The 27th high level meeting of the Latvian government and the Foreign Investors' Council in Latvia (FICIL), focusing on issues related to human resources, cutting red tape, data and their use, as well as green procurement, took place at the Cabinet of Ministers on Friday.