Latvija in brief - 2013-01-10

  • 2013-01-09

Since the government policy took effect two-and-a-half years ago, a total of 4,744 foreigners have invested 318 million lats (454.2 million euros) in the Latvian economy in exchange for residency permits, reports LETA. As the Citizenship and Migration Administration (CMA) reported, just as in 2011, the greatest interest from foreign investors last year was for real estate property. Indeed, 2,435 requested residency permits based on the fact that they or members of their families had acquired real estate property in Latvia for between 50,000-100,000 lats. The most popular are apartments in Riga and Jurmala, with 487 and 303 bought, respectively, in 2012. Investment in bank subordinated capital also gives foreigners the right to request residency, but here the total last year was much less than for real estate at 19.8 million lats. CMA mentions that foreigners are least interested in the opportunity to invest in a company’s share capital.

The personal income tax rate this year will be 24 percent, one percentage point less than in 2012, reports The personal income tax rate will be further reduced to 22 percent in 2014 and 20 percent in 2015. The personal income tax reductions are laid down in amendments to the Law on Personal Income Tax that Saeima passed last year. The government previously said that reducing taxes on labor was sone of its priorities. Finance Minister Andris Vilks notes that, at the moment, Latvia is the only country in the European Union reducing the tax burden on residents. From July, monthly personal income tax breaks for dependants will also be increased from 70 lats (100 euros) to 80 lats.

Riga Mayor Nils Usakovs (Harmony Center) will call on the road construction and maintenance company Celu parvalde to assess its chairman Janis Zauers-Zauls’ suitability for office, reports LETA. Usakovs made the decision after watching an Internet video, showing two Celu parvalde road maintenance crew workers patching potholes by simply filling a hole up and treading it level instead of using special equipment. Both workers have already been fired. “What we are talking about is the system of repairs, and the quality thereof. What we saw on Ozolciema Street was awful, but unfortunately it did not seem like an individual violation. It seems that this is how these people repair streets,” Usakovs told reporters. The mayor added that Celu parvaldes workers would have to mend the potholes properly on Ozolciena Street, and with their own money.