The Review of Corporate Governance in Latvia was prepared as part of the process of Latvia’s accession to OECD Membership. The report describes the corporate governance setting for both listed companies and the state-owned sector (SOEs). The Review then examines the legal and regulatory framework and company practices to assess the degree to which the recommendations of the G20/OECD Principles of Corporate Governance and the OECD Guidelines on Corporate Governance of State-Owned Enterprises have been implemented. The report finds that Latvia's framework for the corporate governance of listed companies is largely consistent with the Principles. However, the report recommends a series of measures to further strengthen the corporate governance framework, which could help to deepen its currently small capital market and attract investment. For SOEs, the report recognises considerable reforms undertaken during the accession review process to establish an ownership co-ordination unit and to begin re-establishing boards of directors (which had been abolished in 2009). The report calls for consolidation of these reforms and also stresses the importance of clarifying SOE objectives and strategies, and enhancing disclosure.
Regulators are proactive referees of the sectors they regulate, contributing to the delivery of essential public utilities for citizens. To fulfill this function, they need to be constantly alert, checking sectoral trends as well as assessing the impact of their decisions. However, while measuring regulators’ performance is essential, it is also challenging, from defininig what should be measured to attributing impacts to regulators' decisions. To address these challenges, the OECD has developed an innovative framework that looks at the institutions, processes and practices that help regulators assess their performance. The framework has been applied to Latvia's Public Utilities Commission, which is responsible for regulating energy, communications, water and waste. The review offers unique insights into the work of a multi-sector regulator, identifying the organisational features that allow lessons and experiences to be shared across sectors and contribute to good performance. It highlights the importance of clarifying the role and functions of the regulator and its relationship with other public institutions, setting long-term strategic objectives for the regulator's activities, and having the right regulatory tools with appropriate incentives for the efficient and effective provision of public utility services.
This working paper explores avenues to improve public sector efficiency in Latvia, a catching-up and ageing economy where spending needs are large.