RIGA - This week, a work group will look at specific scenarios for a potential tax reform, Finance Minister Arvils Aseradens (New Unity) told LETA after a meeting with Latvian President Edgars Rinkevics.
The minister underscored that tax reform was discussed during the meeting with the president. The finance minister reminded that when the government was formed, it was agreed that tax policy would be reviewed every four years. A work group made up of both social and coalition partners is close to starting to look at concrete scenarios on Wednesday. In mid-August, the government is due to present its report on how the tax reform will be carried out.
Aseradens underscored that the three main priorities are financing of the security system, as well as education and healthcare. The finance minister explained that Latvia is doing well with funding for external security, but no so well with funding for internal security. Moreover, the country is also moving towards allocating 3 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) to defense.
"It should be noted that, for example, the pay offer in the army is much more competitive than in the home affairs services. As far as home affairs are concerned, the border is a major focus. The interior minister and I visited the border with Belarus and Russia. We agreed that we need to move forward much faster, both with the construction of the border and with the technology to monitor it. There are, of course, two big sectors that need financing. These are health and education," said the finance minister.
These are all complex issues, he said, because at the same time we need to develop policies that are friendly to the economic growth. During the meeting with the president, tax solutions to support education, innovation and healthcare were discussed. Aseradens pointed out that the country loses between 4,000 and 5,000 people every year due to the inadequacies of the healthcare system, which is unacceptable. The finance minister acknowledged that there are many challenges.