Latvia will have to borrow to help people survive energy crisis - PM Karins

  • 2022-09-14
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - The government will likely have to decide on greater support to households in the current energy crisis, and the money for this purpose will have to be borrowed, Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins (New Unity) said in an interview with Latvian Television on Wednesday. 

The prime minister indicated that the government has already approved an extensive support package, but that it might not be sufficient and that "some price ceilings" might have to be introduced for energy prices, with the government paying the difference with budget money. 

The Economics Ministry is currently doing the calculation to set the "price ceiling correctly", Karins said. 

In Karins' words, Latvia's foreign debt has contracted to 43 percent of GDP, allowing the government to borrow more money. 

Although the support measures will be increased, it will not be enough to compensate for all the economic damage from Russia's war in Ukraine, Karins admitted. 

Asked about Latvia's gas stocks, the prime minister repeatedly assured that Latvia has enough gas for the heating season. To make it through this winter, Latvia will need an estimated 6.9 terawatt hours (TWh) of gas. Over 7 TWh of gas have been injected into the underground gas storage facility in Incukalns and more gas purchases are still being made, Karins said. 

At present, the question is about the price, not availability of gas, the prime minister said.

Commenting on Latvijas Gaze gas utility's claims that it does not have enough gas to supply households because some of the gas has already been sold to other clients, Karins said that  as a public supplier, Latvijas Gaze is obliged to first of all provide gas to households before selling it to others.