MoE Ilze Indriksone: The biggest risks are if we start slowing down the economy with inflation-control measures

On Thursday, the Saeima confirmed Ilze Indriksone, representing the National Alliance (Nacionālā Apcienība), as Minister of the Economics, which was supported not only by the parties forming the coalition but also by the Union of Greens and Farmers (Zaļo un Zemnieku Savienība) Saeima faction.
27.05.2022. Jānis Lasmanis
©Dmitrijs SUĻŽICS, F64 Photo Agency

Before the vote, Krišjānis Kariņš addressed the MPs and highlighted the priorities of the new Minister. "We know very well that one of the big challenges that our country is facing, also in connection with the Russian war in Ukraine, is our energy independence from the Russian Federation, so that we could ensure that our country could never again be blackmailed in any way in the field of energy, as it can actually happen now, as it is actually happening by Russia to the whole of Europe," said the Prime Minister and pointed out that the many years spent as Parliamentary Secretary at the Ministry of Economics are a guarantee that no one should doubt her competence.

Harmony (Saskaņa), which does not support Indriksone's candidacy, did not question her competence. Valērijs Agešins merely pointed out that a vote in favor meant taking responsibility for the candidate. The Harmony faction cannot take responsibility for the ministers of this government. The opposition, however, promises to support economic bills that will address socio-economic problems.

The new Minister of Economics, who has only a few months in her new post, does not promise miracles, but is determined to do everything possible not to hold back the country's economic growth.

Energy independence is the number one priority, what will be the second order of business, perhaps the change in the labor tax system mentioned by the opposition?

It is unlikely that significant changes will be made now, in such a short time before the elections, but there will be a discussion. Also on possible changes to labor taxation. We are aware that it is not possible to cut all taxes at the moment, as the budget is very important to finance health and safety measures. In any case, the most important thing is to ensure economic growth, so that it does not stagnate. The biggest risk is if we start to slow down the economy with inflation-control measures, which we cannot do because this crisis is different from the last one.

Will you invite Jānis Vitenbergs to become Parliamentary Secretary at the Ministry of the Economics?

We have already said that we have made this offer and we very much look forward to his involvement in the important work that he has already done for the economics. We will repeat this conversation in the coming days and he will then make a decision.

The experts are quite certain that we will see the return of Covid in the autumn, which will probably force the implementation of some restrictions again. In his assessment of Vitenbergs' work, the Prime Minister accused him of giving in too much to the influence of entrepreneurs. What will be your position if restrictions have to be implemented again?

I think communication with entrepreneurs is very important. Especially in times of crisis, it is an essential component. If we want to overcome the crisis, the impact on the economy must be assessed and, if there are significant restrictions, there must be support. Support should be given to those who have been affected by the state. But I very much hope that if Covid returns, it will be different, less pronounced. We are in a different situation, we have experience, we have assessed the consequences of the restrictions, both positive and negative. Vaccination coverage is also higher than a year ago.


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