Lithuanian residents in January said they are more optimistic about economic prospects, as fewer residents predict deterioration in the economic situation, reports ELTA. The Department of Statistics reports that over the year, compared to January 2009, when the consumer sentiment index was the lowest since the beginning of the surveys (May 2001), consumer sentiment increased by 11 percent. The number of residents who expect a worsening of the economic situation in the coming 12 months dropped to 58 percent, from 80 percent. Among those polled, 13 percent said they are expecting an improvement in the situation, compared to 3 percent last January. The consumer sentiment stood at -45 in January, an increase of 5 percent compared to December. In evaluating the economic situation in the country, 89 percent of respondents feel that it deteriorated over the past year, 1 percent said the situation improved, and 9 percent said that the economy had been stable.
On Jan. 29, Health Minister Algis Caplikas signed an order on the dismissal of his deputy, Arturas Skikas, due to accusations of receiving bribes, reports ELTA. “Corruption will not [hold back] reforms. Any suspicions related to non-transparent activities hamper the work that has already been started. I have also commissioned the Law Department of the Health Ministry to immediately draw up rules for the dismissal of any public servant who is suspected by law enforcement institutions,” Caplikas said in a press release. Skikas is accused of requesting and provoking Vytenis Kalibatas, head of Nacionalinio Kraujo Centras (the National Blood Center), to give him a bribe of 20,000-30,000 litas (5,780- 8,680 euros).