Economic affairs minister: No plans to raise taxes, cut public sector wages

Minister of Economic Affairs and Communications Taavi Aas of the Center Party, at left, with
Minister of Economic Affairs and Communications Taavi Aas of the Center Party, at left, with "Otse uudistemajast" host Alexander Krjukov Wednesday morning. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Minister of Economic Affairs and Communications Taavi Aas (Center) says that the government has no intention of either reducing public sector wages or raising taxes, in the wake of the coronavirus epidemic.

"This government certainly does not want the current crisis to live on," Aas said, appearing on ERR politics talk show "Otse uudistemajast" Wednesday morning

"The government has taken the view that we will certainly act differently [from making cut-backs," he continued, talking to host Alexander Krjukov.

"The worst thing is really to start tightening your belts even further in a crisis because as this will only serve to exacerbate said crisis," the minister continued, noting that some public works activity might be a solution.

One such area where Aasa said the government could act relatively quickly is the reconstruction of residential buildings. 

"There are a lot of reconstruction projects which are completely at hand, where we could get started right away. It's just a matter of needing additional government support and getting things started," Aas said.

Aas said this also applied to road construction work.

"There are full-fledged projects that have been waiting in the wings for funding and where it would be wise for the state to channel additional funding in any crisis," Aas continued.

Aas confirmed that the state plans to go ahead with its larger investments and facilities, including the construction of four-lane highways between Estonia's major towns.

Aas acknowledged that investment in all sectors cannot be alleviated, however.

The "Otse uudistemajast" broadcast also talked about shipping company Tallink and Tallinn City Government's cooperation in the development of the Linnahall, and the proposed restrictions on alcohol sales in Tallinn. Aas is a former Tallinn mayor.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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