Forest Management Center could be turned into a business venture ({{commentsTotal}})

Finance Minister Sven Sester (IRL) said the state should turn the State Forest Management Center (RMK) into a business venture and Eesti Post, the state-owned postal carrier now named Omniva, should be used as an example.

The Parliament's Environment Committee opposes the idea, saying it is not similar to Omniva or to the Port of Tallinn and the aim of RMK is not a financial gain.

Committee Chairman Rainer Vakra (SDE) said that half of Estonia is covered by forest, and 40 percent of forests are managed by RMK, placing much importance on the issue.

Vakra said that Ominva is closing post offices as they are not making money, adding that if profit is the aim, then investments into nature objects can be cut.

The Finance Ministry said there are no fixed plans in place, but the Environment Ministry must analyze what would turning RMK into a business mean.

RMK has created and manages 225 nature trails with 60 larger camping areas. RMK areas were visited by 1.9 million people last year.

RMK has come under fire from some politicians in recent weeks, who suggest the center is wasting money in creating long nature trails used only by very few people.

The center earned 40.7 million euros in profit last year, on a turnover of 163.5 million euros. That represents a 29.3 and 5.6 percent increase respectively.

Editor: J.M. Laats