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RIGA - The Cabinet of Ministers committee today supported the Economics Ministry's strategy for improving the business environment in Latvia, which focuses on increasing the number of e-services and proposes that companies should also be able to provide services in English.
The plan identifies problems, and offers solutions, in such areas as starting a business, registering property, dealing with construction permits, paying taxes, e-governance, and resolving insolvency, which also has an impact on Latvia's positions in the Doing Business Report and Global Competitiveness index.
The new strategy includes 48 measures in total, implementation of which will be supervised by the Economics Ministry, Finance Ministry, Justice Ministry, Welfare Ministry, Transport Ministry, Environmental Protection and Regional Development Ministry, Health Ministry, Agriculture Ministry, and various agencies responsible for these ministries.
The measures included in the strategy are based on principles of the single-window system, consulting services provided to startups, simple and quality public e-services, development of business-friendly infrastructure, adequate safety and quality requirements.
The other basic principles include simplification of administrative requirements, especially in tax payments and accountancy, easing the bureaucratic burden, and enforcing legitimate expectation principles in investment protection and resolving insolvency process.
More specifically, in the starting a business category, company registration will only be done online in the future. In the dealing with construction permits category, development of the Construction Information System will be completed so all documents concerning the construction business could be harmonized and filed via the information system. Later on in the future, creating a classification system for construction companies will be considered.
In the registering property category, the Land Register's electronic communication system will be upgraded, and property registration without notary certification will become available to companies that use secure e-signature.
In getting electricity category, customer portal e-st.lv will be upgraded, while new measures in the paying taxes and e-governance categories include simplification of reports containing overlapping data, payment of taxes from a single bank account, and others.
The strategy also stipulates further improvements in consulting services offered by the State Revenue Service so they would also be available to foreign companies and in the English language.
For investment protection purposes, company reorganization procedures will be streamlined and other matters that deal with investment protection will be revised to upgrade laws and regulations on investment protection, in line with recommendations offered by local companies and the Foreign Investors' Council in Latvia.
Improvements will be made to the business section of the www.latvija.lv portal to make more online services available on the portal.
Furthermore, a number of measures will be taken to improve insolvency and legal protection procedures to make them more transparent.
The Economics Ministry believes that if all the measures provided in the business environment improvement strategy are implemented, Latvia will have an excellent business environment and will be able to rise to 13th place in the Doing Business Report in 2020, which is one of the objectives listed in the National Development Plan for 2014-2020.