RIGA - In order for Riga to fulfill its economic potential, it is necessary to deal with several “black holes” under the city's management, for example, at the Freeport of Riga and the municipal public transportation company “Rigas Satiksme,” Sarmite Elerte, Unity's Riga mayor candidate, emphasized during a forum yesterday.
The Freeport of Riga is among such “black holes.” Elerte pointed out that serious investors are put off by the port's opaque decision-making, offshore mess and conflicts of interest.
“Under the guidance of Riga vice Mayor Andris Ameriks or ‘Mr. 20%’ (referring to one of Ameriks’ public nicknames), the port has increased turnover, but it has also lost reputation. This affects Latvia's competitiveness. The Freeport of Riga has fallen from 37th to 76th spot in the World Bank's Logistics Performance Index,” pointed out Elerte and emphasized that the separation of legislative and executive powers is a precondition for good governance.
According to Elerte “Rigas Satiksme” is the second “black hole.” The Riga City Council dropped 60 million lats (85.4 million euros) of the city's revenue on the company this year. Harmony Center's deputies on the company's board have no clue about their actions and prevent other Riga City Council deputies from controlling the distribution of these funds, added Elerte.
Elerte also criticized the municipal heat supply company “Rigas Siltums,” supervised by Ameriks' party colleague Vjaceslavs Stepanenko, over refusing to switch on central heating due to debts.