The year 2018 begun with the official launch event of the “FICIL Sentiment Index report 2017” – we were glad to see many of you present and hope that the report generates productive material for the policy makers. January was particularly busy for the Education work group that analysed the State Audit office’s conclusions on the higher education financing system. FICIL representatives also participated in the discussion on the Doing Business rating. More detail on the latest activities below.
FICIL Sentiment Index 2017
On January 10, FICIL presented the annual FICIL Sentiment Index 2017, which was created in co-operation with Dr. Arnis Sauka, Associate Professor at Stockholm School of Economics (SSE Riga). The report reveals that not only the volume of foreign direct investment has increased, but also the investors’ assessment of the investment environment in Latvia has improved. Issues that require immediate reforms and solution include demography and labour availability, quality of higher education, health and judicial system in Latvia. Foreign investors in Latvia are concerned about predictability – the frequent changes in the tax system and legislative changes which make it difficult to plan long-term investments. The purpose of this work is to create the basis for further cooperation between politicians and investors; FICIL will work in partnership with the Government to find and advise on the best solutions for improving the business environment in Latvia. All the materials from the launch event are available here.
Annual General Meeting – 20 February
All the FICIL members are kindly invited to attend the Annual General meeting that will take place on 20 February at 16:00 venue kindly provided by Luminor (Skanstes iela 12, top floor conference room). Please sign up here. At the meeting you will hear about the latest activities of FICIL and the plans for 2018, the financial statements will be reviewed and budget plans for 2018; also new Executive Board members will be elected. This year four places are up for election – please consider your own candidacy and encourage those who you think might be good candidates to stand for the election. We have a dedicated a section in webpage for the AGM where you will find all the latest information and updates.
Updates from FICIL Work Groups
Education work group
FICIL Education work group met representatives from the State Audit Office to hear about findings regarding the higher education financing and administration. As the discussion showed, there are many synergies between the conclusions of the State Audit Office and the recommendations included in the latest FICIL Position Papers. FICIL Education work group leader Claudio Rivera (RBS) raised the importance of the quality and efficiency of higher education in Latvia in a dedicated interview published in Dienas Business and at the Education committee of the Saeima. FICIL was also represented at the public discussion in the framework of the project ‘Skola 2030’ on introduction of competence-based system in schools.
Labour Force issues work group
Labour Force issues work group reviewed the proposed amendments to the Labour Law that were included in FICIL’s position paper originally in 2015 and then discussed with the social partners and the Ministry of Welfare. Some of the proposals could be reviewed by the Government during spring.
Digitalisation work group
The work group discussed the existing administrative, bureaucratic and other challenges encountered by start-ups in Latvia (including with foreign capital). A representative from start-up community shared his experience (main issues – communication with VID, absence of regulatory framework for shared economy type businesses and latest technologies, cooperation among various state institutions a.o.). At the next meeting, a representative from VARAM will talk about the digitalisation policy in Latvia.
Doing Business 2018
FICIL has been invited to discussion on Doing business rating on 31 January. FICIL experts in Construction, Insolvency and Investment protection participated at the discussion organized by the Ministry of Economy and expressed their views in fields where rating experienced biggest decrease.