Public transport sector must be scrubbed of all corruption, PM promises


Corruption is still found in public transport services, which needs to be scrubbed completely, said Latvia’s Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš in an interview to LTV programme Rīta panorāma on Wednesday, the 25th of January.

According to the politician, this issue needs to be handled by Road Transport Administration,

but if the administration is unable to do this, the Minister of Transport should step in.

As previously reported, the Competition Council (KP) has fined three regional passenger carriers – Liepājas autobusu parks (LAP), Nordeka and Latvijas sabiedriskajs autobuss (LSA) – EUR 1.975 million for a prohibited agreement.

KP concluded that the three companies in question had exchanged sensitive information in order to secure service provision rights within a specific range on regional routes – 15 million km a year. Companies exchanged information about lots and participation in procurements.

As for a different topical matter – electricity distribution tariffs, the PM said the government has created a solution to reduce the planned tariff growth. It will be done using two «instruments». First of all, European Union funds will be used to help Augstsprieguma tīkls (AST) restore networks so that the company does not have to invest a lot of resources on its own. Secondly, there will be subsidies for AST. The Russian-Ukrainian war is the main reason for the decision to raise tariffs, added the politician.

As for this year’s state budget, which the government plans to view soon,

Kariņš promised there will be no «deputy quotas» in the budget this time.

The PM also stressed that Latvia needs to look for solutions to ensure a fast response in state and municipal administrations. According to the politician, the situation in the country indicates that emergency and unusual situations require a quick response. Unfortunately, responses are often halted by bureaucratic requirements. For example, a situation like that was observed at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, when there was a great need for medical masks, and the construction of infrastructure along the eastern border, which was significantly delayed due to bureaucratic obstacles.

Similarly Jekabpils will need to take quick action in order to reinforce Daugava dam this year, and it is important for this process to not be hampered by bureaucracy, added the PM. He said the possible assistance Jekabpils will require to recover after floods has not yet been assessed. Kariņš said Latvia needs to overcome the problem when law enforcement institutions are too focused on following the law to the letter, as this can potentially cause delays.

The PM said he is not completely certain what exactly needs changing to improve the situation.

Also read: Competition Council’s uncovered passenger carriers’ actions must be punished severely, minister says

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