Lithuania’s PM aims at fighting shadow economy, corruption if elected president

Lithuania’s Prime Minister and presidential candidate Saulius Skvernelis said on Thursday he would seek to make Lithuania become the leader in the region “with the lowest levels of shadow economy and corruption” if he wins the presidential elections.

Less than two weeks before Lithuania’s presidential elections, Skvernelis presented his program for five years term in 2019-2024 if elected president.

“More efficient tax administration, diminishing underground economy would allow to raise the average retirement pensions and increase children’s allowances. Tax increase would not be needed as additional money can be collected by further fighting a shadow economy,” Skvernelis was quoted by local media as saying at a press conference.

The incumbent prime minister said he would seek that average retirement pension, currently at about 344-364 euros, would reach 400 euros by July 1, 2020, while children’s allowance, currently at 50 euros, would be increased to 70 euros.

According to the news agency Elta, the Lithuanian government earlier announced that the shadow economy decreased by 1 percent in 2018 against 2017. Yet based on various estimates it accounts for 15-23 percent of the country’s GDP and is above the average of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Skvernelis also pledged, if elected president, to encourage the current government to continue education, health, judicial reforms.