Government Annual Performance Report was submitted to the Seimas
Press release, 10 April 2018
On 10 April 2010, Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis submitted the Government Annual Performance Report to the Seimas. The Report highlights that the year 2017 was particularly successful for the Lithuanian economy. Moreover, the tasks and structural reforms (in taxation, innovation, education, health, pension system and reduction of the new shadow economy) planned by the Government for 2018 will significantly contribute to a better quality of life of each person in Lithuania.
The Prime Minister stated that in the previous year particular attention had been given to the fight against poverty and material inequality, with over EUR 600 million being used for tackling these problems. “It was the first time that a political decision was taken to universally pay the child allowance, otherwise called the child’s money. […] In 2017, as compared to 2016, the number of recipients of child allowances increased by about 81 % boosting the related expenditure by approximately 63 %. The forecast is that this year around 400 thousand children will receive the child’s money, and the amount paid will double as compared to the amount previously paid through additional income tax exemptions,” said the Prime Minister. He spoke about the plans to progressively increase the child’s money every year, and, from the next year onwards, to make a growth in income felt even by better earning residents who raise children.
Among the significant tasks completed, Mr Skvernelis highlighted a rise in social insurance pensions, basic amount of social assistance pensions and state-supported income, which is relevant to the most vulnerable groups of society. In addition, the monthly minimum wage and tax-exempt income were also increased last year.
“In 2017, unemployment declined and wages grew rapidly. The unemployment rate fell to 7 % and was by two percentage points below the euro area average. The lack of labour force with appropriate qualification generated a strong demand for employees and encouraged employers to compete for staff,” said the Prime Minister while briefing on the Annual Performance Report.
The improvement of business environment was the second most important point in the Annual Performance Report, as highlighted by the Prime Minister. Mr Skvernelis said that this area had seen the historical achievements that had never been made in the past. “According to Doing Business, Lithuania has achieved the highest position ever held and was ranked number 16 among 190 countries, thus making to top 20 of the world countries with the most favourable business environment. Among EU Member States, Lithuania takes the sixth place leaving behind such countries as Ireland (17), Latvia (19), and Germany (20),” stressed the Prime Minister.
Last year favourable conditions encouraged people to more boldly set up start-ups. “In early 2018, Lithuania has already had over 83 thousand small and medium-sized enterprises. Nearly 10 thousand of new SMEs were registered throughout 2017. The number of SMEs has been rising also due to the measures taken to stimulate entrepreneurship,” said Mr Skvernelis at the same time highlighting the interest of foreign investors in Lithuania.
The Prime Minister noted the structural reform of the education system. “In 2017, the foundation was laid for establishing teachers’ salaries based on workload per full-time equivalent from this autumn. This will allow to raise teachers’ salaries. Teacher training is revised in essence and education programmes are reviewed,” noted Mr Skvernelis.
The Prime Minister observed that the health care system was yet another important area that had undergone significant changes. “In 2017, the Law on Amending the Law on Alcohol Control was adopted to tighten the requirements for sale and advertising of alcohol. I want to stress one thing: we have done what other parties had only promised to do during repeated electoral campaigns, but afterwards failed to summon up the strength to deliver on the promises. In Lithuania, excessive alcohol consumption has always been a serious problem, which is being eased now. Today we see declining sales of alcohol, but national income has not declined due to the increase in excise duties,” said the Prime Minister.
As one of the main tasks completed in the previous year, Mr Skvernelis named the building of Lithuania’s defence capacities and the reform of public enterprises. As regards the foreign policy, the Prime Minister expressed his satisfaction with long-awaited improvement of relations with strategic partners such as Poland.
At the end of his presentation, the Prime Minister noted that, for the first time after the re-establishment of its independence, Lithuania had a non-deficit budget despite a significant increase in social spending. “Objective criteria show that our country is moving in the right direction,” said Mr Skvernelis.
The Prime Minister stated that the Government would continue to fulfil its promises to increase personal income, improve the quality of public services, and advance public well-being.
“The main priorities for this year will include structural reforms that will lead to an appreciable improvement in the quality of people’s lives. The year 2018 will mark the beginning of reforms in taxation, innovation, education, health, and pensions and the introduction of measures against the new shadow economy. We are going to reduce labour taxation, increase the economic security after retirement, encourage innovation, reduce the shadow economy, shorten the queues in medical institutions, and continue the structural reform of the education system to guarantee quality education for all,” said the Prime Minister specifying the main future tasks.
Following its presentation, the Government Annual Performance Report will be discussed by the parliamentary committees. A special debate on the Report is scheduled for the Seimas sitting on 24 April 2018, when the Seimas may adopt, as enshrined in the Statute of the Seimas, a related resolution.
Rimas Rudaitis, Senior Specialist, Press Office, Information and Communication Department, tel. +370 5 239 6132, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Last updated on 04/12/2018