Observer Latvija SIA
WEEK 8th. 2004

Friday, the 20th of February, 2004

Trial number five
The Ministry of Economy has developed a Program for Development of the Small and Middle-size Enterprises (SME) from 2004 till 2006. According to the new program the number of the SME will increase by 5 to 7 per cent annually and the number of employed by the SME should grew by 50,000 people in 10 years. Last four programs were not successful, but this time a council of the SME and the craft has been developed. It should provide more successful functioning of the program and reaching its goals. Representatives of 27 organizations and associations are members of the council. The goal of the program is to create an advantegous environment for entrepreneurship by lowering administrative obstacles, fostering initiative of entrepreneurs, stimulating competitiveness of Latvian companies etc.
(Kommersant Baltic Daily)

Leasing and factoring market grew by 16 per cent
Last year, the entrepreneurs and the private entities signed leasing agreements for LVL 181 million, thus the portfolio of the Latvian Lessors Association increased by 16.6 per cent reaching LVL 332.1 million. Leasing is used mostly for purchase of cars. The factoring increased by 19 per cent, however the volume of the financial services decreased by 6.9 per cent. The representatives of the association believe that the market still has development opportunities in Latvia.

Thursday, the 19th of February, 2004

Latvia – 7th poorest region in Europe
According to the survey compiled by Eurostat, Latvia is the seventh poorest region in Europe regarding the purchasing power of the residents in 2001. The survey was published on February 18, 2004. In Latvia, the GDP is EUR 7,790 per one inhabitant regarding the purchasing power or 33.4 per cent of the EU average level. Six regions of Poland, two of Hungary and one region of Slovakia were poorer than Latvia.

Wednesday, the 18th of February, 2004

SRS has collected 159.2 million lats
In January, the State Revenue Service (SRS) collected LVL 159.2 million in taxes from the residents and the companies operating in Latvia. This is an increase of 14 per cent compared to January 2003. LVL 49.5 million was collected in obligatory payments of social insurance, an increase of 12 per cent. The VAT amounted to LVL 42.6 million, an increase of 15.6 per cent. The income tax reached LVL 32 million, an increase of 18 per cent. The excise taxes amounted to LVL 18.7 per cent, an increase of seven per cent.
(Biznes & Baltija)

To allow to write off the debts
On February 17, the government approved the alterations to the Law on Corporate Income Tax. The companies will be able to write off half of the debts after the process of starting bankruptcy has been announced. The state budget might loose to LVL 2.8 million annually due to these alterations. Till May 31, the Ministry of Finance should submit the government all the necessary documentation to implement the alterations this year. 91.1 per cent of the companies operating in Latvia will not be influenced by these alterations. Mainly it will be of interest to large companies including exporters as well as service companies that are applied the Law on Regulations of Public Services.
(Biznes & Baltija)

Tuesday, the 17th of February, 2004

Imports grew more rapid than exports
According to the Central Statistical Bureau, the exports of the Latvian goods increased by 17.2 per cent, while the imports by one-fifth last year compared to 2002. The difference between exports and imports has increased. In 2002, imports exceeded exports by 77.3 per cent, whereas in 2003, the difference was 81.1 per cent. Wood and wooden products were the most exported goods last year, whereas the most imported were machines, mechanisms and electrical equipments. Most of the exports went to Great Britain, while most of the imports came from Germany. The exports to the EU increased by 20 per cent last year.

8.5 per cent more cargos in Latvian ports
In January, the turnover of the Latvian ports reached 4.678 million tons, an increase of 8.5 per cent compared to January 2003. The three largest ports had a turnover of 4.569 million tons. The Liepaja port had an increase of 29.5 per cent in the turnover, the Riga port – an increase of 0.8 per cent, whereas the Ventspils port – 7.3 per cent. Due to the advantegous weather for sailing this winter, the turnover of the small ports of Latvia grew almost five times. The most of the transhipped cargos or 2.257 million tons were liquid cargos, an increase of 8 per cent. The turnover of the loose bulk freight amounted to 1.553 million tons, an increase of 1.9 per cent compared to the same time period a year earlier. The turnover of the general cargos reached 868,400 tons, an increase of 24.7 per cent.
(Dienas Bizness)

Monday, the 16th January, 2004

Size of GDP – as we predicted
The president of the Bank of Latvia, Ilmars Rimsevics, believes that the year 2003 was very successful in the main areas of the national economy. The growth of the GDP was 7.2 per cent as the bank predicted before. The Bank of Latvia anticipates 7 per cent increase of the GDP in 2004. The volume of the production in the manufacturing industry in comparable prices increased by 7.9 per cent last year. In December 2003 it grew by 9.5 per cent compared to December 2002. Retail turnover increased by 13 per cent. Also the transport industry improved last year. The transportation of cargos by railway increased by 20.6 per cent, transporting of derv via pipelines grew by 10.6 per cent, whereas the turnover of the ports – by 5 per cent. Mr. Rimsevics states that the manufacturing industry, construction, transport and connections and a range of other service sectors will contribute to the growth of the GDP next year.
(Biznes & Baltija)

Agency looks ahead
From 2004 till 2006, the Latvian Investment and Development Agency intends to open at least five representative offices abroad, organize five trade missions, as well as attract capital investments of LVL 25 million to LVL 40 million to Latvia, create 1,000 to 1,500 work places and increase volume of the exports by LVL 20 to 30 million annually. The agency has also become a state’s institution. In 2003, the agency organized 20 visits of large foreign companies to Latvia, worked on 42 projects of capital investments, mot of them have been executed already. 138 Latvian companies participated in trade mission in 2003 to Poland, Germany, Ireland, India, Sweden and Bulgaria. 200 companies met visitors from Portugal, Mongolia, Island, Turkey, Japan and Taiwan. Last year, the agency opened five representative offices. Those are in Great Britain, France, Sweden, Germany and Russia. This year, offices in the USA, Denmark and Holland will be opened. The agency will continue also the marketing support program that helps the Latvian entrepreneurs to take art in international exhibitions and similar events. 15 companies have applied for Hannover Messe 2004.
(Biznes & Baltija)

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