On Wednesday, April 13, the Minister for Finance Dana Reizniece-Ozola and Prof. Ceajer Ka-keung Chan, Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury of Hong Kong, signed the Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Latvia and the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with Respect to Taxes on Income. This agreement will promote the commercial activity, attraction of foreign investments, as well as facilitate the activities of investors of both parties in Latvia and Hong Kong.
On Tuesday, March 8, the Meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers supported the amendments to several laws related to the anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing. The draft laws were developed with a view of ensuring the fulfilment of recommendations of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
Today, The Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Latvia and the World Bank signed the Latvia Tax Policy and Equity Reimbursable Service Agreement (RAS) that aims to review the current tax system in Latvia through a lens of efficiency, competitiveness, revenue mobilization and equity.
Following successful approval of the Twinning Light project, experts of the European Union (EU) Funds Audit Authority (AA) have been granted the right to train specialists of the Croatian Audit Authority. During the period of six months Latvian experts will transfer to Croatian colleagues their knowledge about sound EU funds financial management in the new programming period 2014-2020.
For the Latvian economy, the year 2015 has been a complicated but overall successful year. Despite unfavourable external conditions, the economic growth increased up to 2.7 % (in the first three quarters of the year); while in previous year the gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 2.4%. In 2015, Latvian exporters overcame successfully the sanctions imposed by Russia and dealt with the decreasing demand in the neighbouring country, which experienced a recession. Although exports to Russia in the first nine months of the year decreased by 24.4%, Latvia is the only Baltic country, which has managed to increase the total amount of exports. In the nine months, it grew by 2%.
On December 8, 2015, taking advantage of the unique situation in financial markets, within the framework of the government debt management, debt liabilities undertaken in US dollars were partially refinanced with euro denominated bonds of corresponding maturity. The favourable situation for the repurchase of obligations in US dollars was determined by the existing difference between the credit spread of Latvia government securities in US dollars and euros. Thus, these transactions resulted in reduced government debt servicing costs in medium term.
On Monday, November 30, Saeima passed the 2016 budget draft law in the second — final — reading. The next year’s budget is the budget of internal and external security, which has been drafted in a responsible and well-considered manner.
Already this year the Ministry of Finance (MoF) will start to review base expenditures of line ministries. The Ministry will also start to develop medium-term tax guidelines. Two of the most important aspects to ensure quality of public funds are effective use of state budget expenditures, as well as stable and predictable tax revenues in the state budget to guarantee fulfilment of state functions, in particular, to finance security, social and economic measures, which are top priorities of the government.
On Tuesday, September 29, at the meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers (CoM) the government approved the draft law on the state budget for 2016 and the draft law on the medium-term budget framework for 2016, 2017 and 2018. Next year’s consolidated budget revenue is estimated at EUR 7.38 billion, but expenditure – at EUR 7.655 billion. The admissible state budget deficit is 1% of gross domestic product (GDP).
On Tuesday, September 29, at the meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers the government approved the draft general government budget plan of Latvia for 2016. It is planned that the general government budget plan of Latvia will be submitted to the European Commission (EC) and the Eurogroup on September 30.
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