Greetings in, perhaps, the hottest week of this summer. Before going on your well-deserved midsummer holidays, take a moment to catch up on the latest news around FICIL.

Save the Date

It has been confirmed that this year’s High Council meeting will take place on the 16th and 17th of September. The key areas for this year’s discussion are human capital, green economy development, digitalisation, and rule of law. A precise agenda, as well as information on how to register for the event will follow in due time.  The High Council meeting is an annual event intended to facilitate a top-level discussion forum between foreign investors and the Government of Latvia. The event will be in compliance with all relevant regulations regarding the epidemiological situation in the country at the time of the High Council meeting.

Higher education reform adopted in Saeima

FICIL has been actively advocating for significant reforms in the education sector, as there is a need to ensure that the education offer and quality is in line with the labour market needs. This also includes substantial work on the higher education reform, as FICIL and its Education work group leader Mr. Claudio Rivera have been actively involved with it since the very beginning several years ago. On June 8, a significant milestone was reached as the reform was adopted in Saeima’s third reading. The reform includes the introduction of councils within state higher education institutions. As the majority of each council will consist of independent high-level experts, it is expected that the councils will help the institutions to create and employ a thorough long-term strategy that would match the market needs and the goals of the institution.

Research and discussion on sustainability

FICIL, together with KPMG Latvia, has published a study on the readiness of businesses and public administration for the European Green Deal. Various foreign investors and local companies participated in the study outlining their approach to sustainability, cooperation among public and private sector to reach green targets as well as the upcoming challenges companies, public sector and society as a whole will face regarding this topic. The results of the study were presented during a discussion, where the participants were Mr. Artūrs Toms Plešs (Minister of Environmental Protection and Regional Development), Ieva Tetere (CEO, SEB Latvija), Edvards Kušners (Head of Sustainability, Bank of Latvia), Reinhold Schneider (Chief Executive Officer, Schwenk Northern Europe), Evija Šturca (Partner, KPMG Latvia, FICIL Board member), Romāns Astahovs (Managing Director, Vastint Latvija).

MikroTik becomes a member of FICIL

In May, FICIL held a members meeting where one of the key points of the agenda was the approval of MikroTik as the newest corporate member of FICIL. The software and hardware manufacturer was founded in 1996 to develop routers and wireless ISP systems. It is currently the largest manufacturing company in Latvia. After having joined FICIL, one of the main goals for MikroTik is to collaborate on finding solutions for improved competitiveness of Latvian products and increased transparency in the market.

Alvis Ērglis elected as a FICIL Executive Board member

Mr. Alvis Ērglis, Director of Sales of the fuel & retail company Circle K Latvia, has been elected to take the vacant position as a FICIL Executive Board member and to serve on the Board for the remainder of Gunta Jēkabsone’s term – until spring 2022.  Mr. Ērglis has obtained a Master’s degree in management and economics from the University of Latvia. He has held several senior management positions in different companies across various industries, where he has been responsible for sales and new product development.

FICIL in Action

On 25 May, FICIL Executive Board, as well as the Healthcare Sector Issues work group and Labour Force Issues work group held an online meeting with Mr. Daniels Pavļuts, Minister for Health. Mr. Pavļuts outlined the Ministry’s outlook on the current state of the Covid-19 pandemic and highlighted the key challenges that the country faces at the moment. The Minister also presented the new Digital Health project. Meanwhile, FICIL representatives voiced their concerns regarding sick leave certificate issuance and the quality of mandatory health examinations.

FICIL Members Meeting on 18 May was joined by Mr. Mārtiņš Staķis, Chairman of the Riga City Council. Mr. Staķis and his team’s presentation on city’s development plans was followed by a very active Q&A session where FICIL members in attendance were able to ask their specific questions to the Mayor. The questions covered a wide set of topics, ranging from infrastructure and greening of the city to combatting corruption.

FICIL Tax Policy & Administration work group has established a strong cooperation with the Ministry of Finance. Two meetings have already taken place where the work group members and Ministry officials discussed transfer pricing, the use of international financial reporting standards, and the issues related with these.

The Food & Drink Industry work group held an online meeting with the Deputy State Secretary of the Ministry of Environment Protection and Regional Development, Ms. Alda Ozola. Participiants discussed single-use plastics and natural resource tax, giving company representatives better grasp over the upcoming changes in related legislation.

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-Your FICIL Team