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Government approves new Latgale growth plan 13.04.2016

Today, the government approved the Environmental Protection and Regional Development Ministry's plan for the growth of eastern Latvia's Latgale Province, which stipulates creation of 818 new jobs and drawing private investment in the amount of EUR 52.18 million.

The Plan of Action for the Development of Latgale/2015-2017 says that the majority of financing for the plan - EUR 52.24 million, will go into revitalization of degraded land. The money will be allocated from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

As a result, 818 new jobs will be created, private investment is expected to reach EUR 52.18 million, and the area of degraded land will be reduced by 124.6 hectares.

Taking into consideration that Latgale's population has decreased 25.7 percent from 2000 to 2014, special support measures are necessary to boost economic activity in Latgale. The Environmental Protection and Regional Development Ministry notes that preconditions have to be created for the establishment of new companies and expansion of existing ones, resulting in the creation of new jobs. The ministry hopes that prudent and economically- justified investments in the business environment will make Latgale a more attractive region for business ventures, triggering more private investment in Latgale.

The ERDF financing will be distributed among several local governments. Daugavpils and Rezekne will receive EUR 17.35 million, Balvi, Kraslava, Livani, Ludza, Preili and Aluksne regions - EUR 11.89 million, and the other regions in Latgale - EUR 23 million. In addition, local governments will have the opportunity to apply for European Union funds meant for other objectives in the "Growth and Employment" program.

The plan also stipulates other measures to make Latgale more attractive for conducting business, for instance, various tax incentives, expansion of the Rezekne Special Economic Zone, and others.

The ministry adds that state institutions should consider implementing pilot projects in Latgale before introducing new nationwide reforms. Therefore, if the new policy is successful, Latgale would be the first to benefit from it, providing impetus for its development.

The previous Latgale development plan from the Environmental Protection and Regional Development Ministry was implemented in 2012-2013. That time, investments in Latgale totaled EUR 98.8 million - the Latgale Entrepreneurship Center was established, various projects aimed at improving business environment were carried out, a number of roads were renovated, and two films popularizing Latgale were produced.

The ministry has concluded that the first plan contributed greatly to the development of Latgale.

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