Defense minister, defense forces chief open Centre for Defence Investments
Estonian Minister of Defence Margus Tsahkna, Chief of the Estonian Defence Forces Lt. Gen. Riho Terras and Director of the Centre for Defence Investments (RKIK) Col. Rauno Sirk on Friday formally opened the center bringing together under united management all defense-related procurements and infrastructure projects.
Tsahkna stated that the governing coalition's decision to create an extra defense investment fund in addition to the current defense spending amounting to 2.2 percent of GDP will ensure that the newly inaugurated center will be able to fully commit to developing tenders and infrastructure essential for national defense, spokespeople for RKIK said.
The defense investment fund will significantly increase the number of defense procurements as well, Tsahkna continued, and the new center must help to make the tendering process more professional and transparent to raise Estonia's independent defense capability.
The Centre for Defence Investments was created by a ministerial decree at the end of 2015 as the volume of procurements had multiplied and tender organization needed to be updated. RKIK became operational at the beginning of this year and it has already announced its first procurement tenders.
"The volume of national defense-related procurements doubled over the last five years; they now account for almost a half of the defense budget," Sirk said. "While investments and procurement of special defense equipment accounted for 57.3 million euros in 2010, we are forecasting spending amounting to nearly 200 million euros by 2020."
In addition to procurement, the center will bring under united management all infrastructure- and construction-relation know-how whose task is to develop defense infrastructure, plan, design, build and manage real estate. The Ministry of Defence is among the three largest state real estate managers alongside state real estate management company RKAS and the Ministry of the Environment, Sirk noted.
RKIK plans to carry out more than 403 procurement tenders with an overall value of 159 million euros this year. The major tenders involve bringing CV9035 infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) to Estonia as well as the modernization of the country's naval vessels.
The new center currently employs 130 people.