Cultural Endowment Says Minister's Museum Construction Estimates Too Optimistic
The Cultural Endowment of Estonia's director Raul Altmäe thinks it will take longer than the 10-12 years estimated by Minister of Culture Rein Lang to finance the planned new National Museum building.
He said the Endowment would be paying off the costs of construction until 2027 or 2028.
He did say the body was prepared to shoulder the obligation. "The state of the Endowment is fairly good in the financial sense," he said on ETV, but also noted that more time would be required, as during the construction of the KUMU Art Museum, gambling tax revenue was higher.
The Cultural Endowment's budget is 97 percent drawn from 3.5 percent of the alcohol and tobacco excise tax and a 46 percent share of gambling tax revenue.
Altmäe said there had been a setback in 2009 when less gambling tax than expected was received, but then the budget started growing again, reaching 22 million euros in 2012.
Altmäe said the Endowment is prepared to finance the National Museum, as about one-fourth of its budget is slated for construction of two nationally important sites - the Music Academy and the National Museum.
Choices have to be made between the next phase of the Academy - the hall - and the National Museum. The Endowment can build up to two projects simultaneously, and Altmäe says it is reasonable to build one at a time: first the National Museum.
Culture Minister Lang said last week that the Endowment's funds must be fully aimed at building the museum and that the Music Academy should seek EU funding.
Altmäe says additional funding will have to come from some source to get the project under way.
"We are working with the State Real Estate and the Ministries of Culture and Finance to look for the final financing schemes. In any case, more funds will be needed as of construction," he said. "When the construction is finished, we will certainly start repaying the money."
The Endowment will make its decision on the National Museum and the Music Academy on April 4.