Politicians offering more hot air

  • 2010-09-08
  • Staff and wire reports

CITIZEN ACTION: A recent debate showed that political parties still have no specific plans for the country.

RIGA - Political parties’ programs for the 10th Saeima elections on Oct. 2 are largely made up of slogans, and it appears that the parties have not yet decided how their promises will be implemented, businessmen representing various national economy sectors said in a debate hosted by the business portal Nozare.lv. Furniture maker Dailrade koks board chairman Andris Jansons said, after reading five leading political parties’ election programs, that it was outrageous that only a couple of programs mentioned any figures at all, and none offered any specific information on further tax policy and budget consolidation.

“If they provide some figures, politicians will become accountable,” agreed the security company G4S board chairman Edgars Zalitis. “All the programs are really nice, but they offer no specifics,” added Zalitis.
Farmers’ Saeima deputy chairwoman Maira Dzelzkaleja noted that it was typical of public administration to use such words as “promote,” “encourage,” “support,” “introduce” and the like. Unfortunately, there is no scale to measure these verbs.
“At the moment, there are just platforms, but they are not based on any plans how they will be implemented. If so, then these are just slogans,” said Dzelzkaleja.

RRB celtnieciba construction company board chairman Normunds Stals said, “There are sections in the programs that are Utopian, but in general, all the programs look alike.” He went on to say “More details are necessary, there are just a few matters where some figures are provided, but even then it is often unsaid how exactly money or co-financing will be provided.”

Over the past two years, all the reserves have been “eaten up,” and Stals wants to know how exactly companies’ work will be promoted and supported.
One of the politicians participating in the debate, Economy Minister Artis Kampars (New Era) said that 3 billion lats (4.2 billion euros) would be invested in the national economy. He said that 2.5 billion lats of this amount would be provided from the European Union’s structural funds, whereas the remaining 0.5 billion lats would be the state’s co-financing.

Kampars promised that the state would ensure co-financing for projects funded with money from EU structural funds.
Representatives of the leading political parties have gone out on a limb to promise, in general, not to increase the overall tax burden. More specifically, they say that they intend to make internal changes to the tax system, in order to move the tax burden from labor onto real estate and consumption.

For A Good Latvia board member Martins Zemitis said that his party would achieve that Latvia rises from the current 29th position to reach the top ten of the World Bank’s list of most competitive countries. In a rather pathetic excuse for his party’s inability to explain exactly how it will accomplish this, as well as how his party would create 150,000 new jobs, as is stated in its program, Zemitis said that this was a much more conservative goal than that of Unity’s - to reduce the unemployment rate to just 4.25 percent.

Association of Latvian Travel Agents and Tour Operators board chairwoman Kitija Gitendorfa, Union of Greens and Farmers’ member Armands Krauze and All For Latvia - For Fatherland And Freedom/LNNK representative Girts Lapins also participated in the debate.