Poverty, social exclusion biggest concerns in Lithuania

Despite economic growth, increasing household revenues, and falling unemployment, inequality and poverty indicators in Lithuania remain among the highest in the European Union (EU), Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis said on Tuesday, when presenting the government’s activity report for 2016 to parliament.

“In the social area, indicators of poverty and social exclusion raise the biggest concerns,” Skvernelis told lawmakers, local media reported.

Improved social security and reduced social exclusion are among the governmental priorities, the head of government added.

According to Skvernelis, in 2015, 29.3 percent of Lithuanian residents were at risk of poverty or social exclusion. It was one of the highest indicators in the EU where average the rate was 23.7 percent in 2015, according to data from Eurostat, the statistical agency of the EU.

Income inequality indicators are also significantly higher in Lithuania than in most other EU countries, Skvernelis stressed.

“The current government plans to solve these problems by concrete actions,” he noted.

According to Skvernelis, the government aims to implement tax system and public sector reforms in order to increase the country’s competitiveness.

“One of the goals of this government is to ensure the competitiveness of the economy. In order to achieve this goal, we plan to carry out a comprehensive review of the tax system,” Skvernelis said.

He also pledged to foster cooperation between businesses and scientific institutions, in order to build an economy that is oriented towards innovation.

“The average monthly gross wage in Lithuania increased significantly in 2016 and amounted to 770 euro,” the head of government noted.

Based on Lithuanian Parliament’s (Seimas) statute, the prime minister has to present the government’s annual activity report for the previous year at the parliamentary spring session.


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