True Lithuania

Economy of Lithuania

The average Lithuanian is richer than 83% people in the world. He or she earns more than an average person in every nation of Africa, Latin America and most of the countries in Asia. However, Lithuania is lagging behind countries like those of Western Europe, the United States, Canada, Japan or Australia.

Countries richer than Lithuania (GNP per capita 2013) are green in this map while those poorer than Lithuania are red. ©Augustinas Žemaitis.

Among the member-states of the European Union and NATO Lithuania is one of the poorer countries. But it is richer than or on par with other Eastern European members of the said international organizations with the exception of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Slovenia.

Lithuania is a post-industrial society with some two-thirds of the population working in the service sector. The society is relatively egalitarian with healthcare, primary and secondary education being funded by the state. Undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate education is also state-funded for the better students.

However, corruption is a major problem in the healthcare sector as many doctors expect bribes to be paid to them by patients so that they would receive preferential treatment. Corruption is rampant in other sections of the society as well, especially traffic police and government purchases (e.g. road construction for taxpayers' money). These practices are largely a legacy of the Soviet regime. However, Transparency International places Lithuania at some 50th place of 182 countries in its Corruption Perception Index (the higher the place - the less corruption there is), ahead of all states formerly behind the Iron Curtain save for Estonia and Poland (but far behind the West, Japan or Australia).

The largest employer in Lithuania is the MAXIMA group that owns a chain of retail shops well visible in Lithuania as well as Latvia, Estonia, and Bulgaria. This is the largest company in Lithuania and its owner Nerijus Numavičius is the country‘s richest person. Just like many Lithuanian businesses MAXIMA is primarily owned by a single person (or a single family) rather than being a publically traded company.

Largest industries in Lithuania are oil refinement (Mažeikių Nafta in Mažeikiai; 36,2% of total 2011 exports) and fertilizer manufacturing (Lifosa in Kėdainiai and Achema in Jonava; 8,9% of exports). Processed and unprocessed food amount for 16,9% of exports. Traditionally strong clothing industry has been hit by outsourcing to Asia.

The agricultural sector now employs only some 12 percent of the population but they are good at lobbying. Therefore the government generally subsidizes agriculture. The European Union adds to this although the European Union subsidies are significantly lower than for farmers in countries like France. Typically Lithuanian farmers grow grain, pigs, chicken, and cows. The "traditional agriculture" where a family owns a single cow, a single pig and some pastures (rather than combining land to form a large business) is declining but still well entrenched in the Lithuanian countryside. Village tourism offers a new opportunity for Lithuanian farmers and tourists alike.

Article written by Augustinas Žemaitis

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Comments (3) Trackbacks (0)
  1. This website is very helpful for a school project i wish it could provide a little more exports to the human brain!!!!!!!

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  2. Hello, Dear I am much happy to find this website. In next month i have plan to come in Vilnius for working purpose. I want to know the present situation of Lithuania. Is this helpful country for earning purpose? Guide some important points which are useful for me. I highly appreciate those who help me.

    • The situation in Lithuania depends on what you compare it to.

      Lithuania is poorer than most Western countries, therefore if you plan to move to European Union you would likely earn way more in Western Europe than in Lithuania.

      Lithuania is also poorer than the following muslim countries: UAE, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Brunei and Kuwait.

      Lithuania is, however, richer than the other muslim countries and it is also richer than most other Eastern European countries.

      See the map on Economy of Lithuania article to see which countries are richer and which are poorer than Lithuania.

      Also, as in every country, there are legal restrictions of foreigner work. A foreigner should find a job in Lithuania *before* actually moving in here, then his/her company would sponsor a work permit. The permit will be granted (for up to 2 years) only if there is no Lithuanian citizen capable of doing the same job.


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