AmCham hosted the first luncheon after the summer break on September 4th with Juris Pūce, Minister for Environmental Protection and Regional Development who shared timeline for administrative territorial reforms and offered the future vision for Latvia's digital transformation.
The Minister explained that there will be 42 new local authorities who will begin their work as of July 1st 2021. The new law on Administrative Territories and Populated Places provides several means for merging municipalities to cooperate in the new administrative-territorial framework until new local governments are elected. National financial assistance will be provided for development of new joint planning documents, plans for administrative and organizational structures, and administrative expenses of the merger. It will include more rational territorial division around development centers, more equal and self-sufficient municipalities with higher financial and administrative capacity, improved quality of public services and rational spending of public resources.
Speaking about digital transformation Mr. Pūce outlined a high-level strategy for action in 5 directions: digital skills, digital security and trust, availability of telecommunications and computing resources, digital transformation of economy (including public administration) as well as innovations and ICT industry and science. More than 200 public administration, NGOs, industry and academia representatives have taken part in more than 50 virtual meetings (by action directions and industry sections) to contribute to contents of the strategy document. Draft version of the digital transformation strategy document is due to be published for public consultations in coming weeks.
Minister emphasized: "Our vision is to develop society, economy and public administration that makes efficient use of existing and new digital technology capabilities, to improve the quality of life for every individual and society as a whole, and to strengthen the competitiveness of the country and the economy."