The Riigikogu’s finance select committee will discuss the newly presented state budget for 2021 with ministers to clear up uncertainties and goals in each ministry’s areas of governance.
Riigikogu finance committee head Aivar Kokk (Isamaa) explained the state budget was activity-based for ministry’s areas of governance for the second year, as Estonia changed to a new budget structure in 2020.
He added the new structure meant the government would set goals for programs and state authorities would then provide services to reach these goals. The services have been defined in the budget down to quality, capacity and price.
Kokk said: “We wish to receive explanations from the ministers about their programs, which expenses are planned and what are the desired results.”
Finance committee deputy chair Maris Lauri said this state budget came with a budgetary strategy for 2021-2024 and there were plenty of questions.
Lauri explained: “It seems as if the government is too optimistic about using new EU measures, at the same time, 15% of the period’s resources have not even been covered by projects yet. The period will end in less than three months.”
She added that some statements made by members of the government were inconsistent with what was stated in the budget, including the topic of a central Tallinn Hospital in Lasnamae, which Minister of Social Affairs Tanel Kiik (Center) said on October 5 was a realistic project, which would be completed in 2026.
Lauri said: “And some topics have not even been discussed yet but the public already knows about some odd spendings. Those and other things must become clear after discussions.”
Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa), Minister of Defense Juri Luik (Isamaa), Minister of Education and Research Mailis Reps (Center), Minister of Culture Tonis Lukas (Isamaa) and Minister of IT and foreign trade Raul Siem (EKRE) are among those invited to the meetings.
The state budget for 2021 was presented by Prime Minister Juri Ratas (Center) on September 30, the day after the coalition (Center, EKRE, Isamaa) agreed it.
The budget sees expenditures amounting to approximately EUR 13 billion and revenues at over EUR 11 billion. The nominal deficit of the budget will equal 6.7% of GDP and the structural deficit 6.6% of GDP next year.
Investments by the government sector will amount to EUR 1.9 billion euros next year. The country will bring in EUR 1.4 billion in external funding and it plans to borrow EUR 2.4 billion. (ERR/Business World Magazine)