As evidenced by the FICIL Board report at the Annual General Meeting in February, the year 2017 has been a dynamic one, involving many changes; the year 2018 looks also busy with many important topics on the FICIL agenda for everyone. Please see specific updates from FICIL work groups and other relevant information below.
FICIL Annual General Meeting and updates from the FICIL Board
FICIL AGM was held on 20th February. FICIL Board presented a report on their main activities in 2017. Key areas of focus – work towards more transparency internally and externally, development of communication strategy and goals, new HC financing model, more intensive work with FICIL partners in the Government to implement FICIL recommendations (please see the presentation here). The Board also presented financial accounts for 2017 and budget for 2018 that were approved by the membership. During the AGM new Board members and Auditor were elected – a warm welcome to everyone (please see the new FICIL Board here). Another important item of the AGM agenda was changes into the FICIL Statutes with the aim to have a better alignment with FICIL latest policies (Strategy, Communication plan), improve legal technique and achieve alignment with daily needs of the Council. Changes were approved (please see the amended version here).
And last but not least – a new associate member, French Foreign Trade Advisers, was approved by FICIL membership – welcome!
Updates from FICIL work groups
All the eleven active FICIL work groups are currently busy working on topics important for investment climate and business environment. Since the drivers of Latvia’s economic competitiveness include availability and efficiency of labour, quality of business legislation, education and health, FICIL work groups are actively working to foster developments in these areas.
Since 2015 FICIL has been actively reminding the government about the modernisation of the governance in higher education institutions. The need for the changes in governance model became even more topical after the report by State Audit office on financing and governance of higher education institutions. FICIL representatives have met with relevant stakeholders (rectors of universities and students) to discuss the options for improving governance of higher education institutions.
The members of the work group have collected and will still collect many empirical examples from entrepreneurs and have heard the response from the government about the existing e-services and their actual work. So far, the work group has identified the following topics: need for simple and clear e-identification, fragmentation of the resources and complexities in design of e-services.
Investment Protection and Court Efficiency work group
The work group is focusing on revision of the legislative process in Latvia, (especially regarding consistency and predictability of laws), as well as seeking improvements in the court efficiency and impact thereof on the investment environment. In February work group also paid special attention to the prohibition of competition principle and legal regulation for pain and suffering damage compensation.
Energy and Waste management
Since the beverage packaging deposit system is becoming more and more topical, VARAM representative was invited to the work group to discuss the scope, details and other aspects of the proposed model. Everybody is on the same page when it comes to question, weather beverage packaging deposit system needs to be implemented in Latvia but details still need to be determined.
Tax Policy and Administration
FICIL Tax policy and Administration leadership has been actively engaging with the State Revenue Service regarding FICIL recommendations from 2017. The work group is also analysing recent tax policy developments.
Labour Force Issues work group
The central question among work group members is possible solutions for shortage of the work force. As the economy is growing the availability of workforce will become even more topical not only for foreign investors but for economy as such. So far work group members have identified several possible solutions for the issue – smart migration, including re-migration, promotion of Latvia as place for operating business, improvement of education and re-education programmes and development of infrastructure.
Economic and Financial Crime work group
In February work group heard update on latest activities regarding Insolvency issues and detailed report on initiatives regarding banking insolvency. Work group representatives presented their views at the Saeima Public Expenditure and Audit Commission on performance of Insolvency administration and regulatory framework.
Announcement from FICIL
Following allegations of corruption against Latvia’s central bank governor and accusations of money laundering against Latvia’s third biggest bank, on 23rd February FICIL issued an announcement. Full FICIL statement can be read here.
We hope this is useful and please do not hesitate to contact us in case you need more detail on any of this.