On June 2nd, President of Latvia Mr. Egils Levits hosted a video conference with representatives of the FICIL Executive Board to discuss the investors view on sustainable economic recovery process in light of Covid-19 crisis. The topics included the development of human resources, upskilling employees, higher education reform as well as digitalisation in Latvia.
The Chairperson of the FICIL Board, Mrs. Gunta Jēkabsone, pointed out that investors do appreciate Latvia’s swift response to the Covid-19 crisis and view the Governments work as positive. A similar decisive course of action is expected when it comes to mapping out the recovery process and economic development for Latvia post Covid-19. During the conversation, FICIL also outlined results of the most recent survey regarding Covid-19 impact on investors in Latvia, highlighting the drop in demand at several companies, fluctuating employment levels and future investment plans.
The current economic downturn will affect the labour market, FICIL believes we need to mitigate the fiscal impact on the welfare system, meaning strong emphasis should be placed on effective human resource management system. Such system would facilitate faster reintegration into labour market and eliminate mismatch between skills and labour market demands. President Levits echoed FICIL position and added that government must clearly define leading industries and sectors to maximise the returns on public investments.
When discussing digitalisation in Latvia, FICIL Board members underlined that public sector has quickly adapted to changes triggered by Covid-19 pandemic. However, successful digital transformation of the government requires an integrated and analytical approach, and strong open data culture and data-pooling systems.
President and Board members of FICIL strongly agreed that there is a need for one managing authority to take charge of bringing innovation and digital transformation higher on the political agenda of Latvia. FICIL Digitalisation work group has emphasised the need for a State CIO for several years. FICIL Board members strongly underlined that companies are currently expected to complete their digital transformation and the same is expected of the government sector. And now is the right time to put effort into smooth transformation.
President and FICIL also talked about higher education reform that is currently being discussed in the parliament. FICIL representatives reiterated that high quality higher education is important in training of future professionals. It is also crucial for stopping potential migration caused by this pandemic.
President Levits and FICIL Board members agreed that higher education reform must be focused on efficient governance and strategic development of universities, including closer cooperation with private sector and international experts. President Levits and FICIL promised to continue close monitoring of the implementation of the reform in future.