Foreign investors Council in Latvia (FICIL) and the Finance Latvia Association (FLA) have sent a letter to the political forces forming the coalition asking to identify one responsible institution/entity, which will comprehensively address climate and energy issues, even if it is necessary to create a separate ministry.
In the upcoming years, it is important to ensure smooth progress and implementation of policies that promote climate-neutral economic development. Smart, coordinated, data analysis-based decision-making and implementation in this area will undoubtedly contribute to economic development and the international competitiveness of Latvia. Horizontal cooperation and the continued support of public authorities, as well as appropriate centralisation and proactive, responsible decision-making, are crucial for this process to move forward. If everyone continues to be responsible for the implementation of this policy, no one will actually be responsible, and Latvia will not meet the targets set for 2030.
FICIL and FLA stress that data-driven policy implementation is needed in such a critical area as energy and climate change. State and local authorities have a huge amount of data at their disposal that is not effectively used for analysis, including using automated tools and building interconnections between different national databases. Availability and analysis of up-to-date and high-quality data is necessary in order to improve the quality of the legislative and executive authorities and consequently the competitiveness of Latvia. This is particularly important with regard to the achievement of climate objectives in order to assess the current situation, assess progress and the effectiveness of the policies implemented, and verify that the objectives set have been met.
FICIL and FLA would also like to stress the need to establish a responsible authority for the development and implementation of a comprehensive digitisation policy in Latvia. Digitisation must be a national priority. This can be achieved by collecting and meaningfully implementing best practices of digital transformation from other countries and the private sector, ensuring common policies and centralised decision-making on issues relating to development harmonisation and more optimal reuse of resources between public authorities. Digital transformation ministers or responsible authorities have been set up in several countries in recent years, starting with Norway, where the digitisation level is high, as well as Ukraine, where digital transformation is at a relatively early stage.
The development of the state economy and the business environment in Latvia are affected by several factors, including the problem of unavailability of qualified labour force, inadequate skills, disproportionate tax burden and proportion of shadow economy, however, currently several critical issues have the same problem – a fragmented public sector where functions overlap and there is insufficient responsibility for achieving clear results. When forming the next government and evaluating the key issues on the agenda, attention should also be paid to the overall public sector system and the division of responsibilities within it.