Estonia could temporarily lower environmental charges to prevent further job cuts in the energy sector, Minister of Entrepreneurship Liisa Oviir said on Friday.
"In conjunction with Enterprise Estonia and the foundation for the development of East-Viru industrial areas we are very actively engaged in luring new entrepreneurs to the region, but this is a long process. East-Viru county needs faster solutions today," Oviir told BNS. "One of them could be the proposal already being discussed at the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications to temporarily lower environmental charges on the condition that jobs are preserved."
"The decision of the Estonian government made on Thursday to permit Eesti Energia to take part in virtual green energy trade will help ease the difficult situation arising from low oil prices at the company which also employs hundreds of people. Besides a controlled increase of the use of biomass will give a positive impetus to raising the felling volumes in our forests, which will create additional jobs in the region. The Finance Ministry meanwhile is devising a methodology for the calculation of resource charges depending on the world market price of the end products of oil shale," the minister said.
Oviir described it as a cause for concern that the biggest employers of East-Viru county represent a single sector. Considering the difficult situation of the oil shale sector, active efforts are required to bring alternative employers to East-Viru county, she said.