Erkki Keldo: Honesty needed in a critical situation

Erkki Keldo.
Erkki Keldo. Source: ERR

It is necessary to be honest with the people in a critical situation, even if the news is not good, as it is the only way to find a solution, Erkki Keldo (Reform Party) writes.

Contrary to criticism by Martin Helme, the Reform Party has been constructive, expecting to be involved and offered the government its help and know-how throughout the crisis. In a situation where the finance minister attacks the opposition and the media, saying that "talking points" are the same, what needs to be realized is that the media reflects what is happening in society.

People have been the most puzzled when it comes to testing and relevant information. For several days now, the public, including the opposition, has been sent contradictory messages by the government in terms of why testing is only available to people belonging to risk groups and even then, with restrictions.

It is only natural the public expects concrete and clear answers on how the government sees the big picture in terms of testing.

The private sector has offered to help, after seeing that testing requires a broader plan for the crisis to be overcome. It is necessary to be honest with the people in a critical situation, even if the message is not a positive one, as it is the only way to find a solution.

If the reason why general testing of the population was abandoned is shortage of personal protective gear for front-line workers, it should be clearly said, and the people would understand. While talking about "expediency" understandably makes people mad.

We have been saying since this crisis began that combating the virus cannot be a place for political point-scoring. We have maintained that line and offered the government our help in private communication and by coming up with ideas publicly. At the same time, we have seen from the government an initiative to tie the mandatory funded pension bill to the crisis that is hardly a vital matter in the current situation.

As concerns the economic stimulus package proposed by the government, we are willing to discuss its contents in a constructive manner. It includes several sensible initiatives, while all measures need to be analyzed for the package to maximally benefit our economic and business environment.

We have said in our comments that the effects of the virus are causing people to worry about losing their job and income. Companies are having trouble finding workers and experiencing order cancellations, making normal business activity difficult. Freezing II pillar payments will not benefit a single person who has lost their job or been put on mandatory leave.

€2 billion is a lot of money and its use needs to be very carefully considered for it to reach people, companies and sectors that are really suffering, so that the economy could recover as quickly as possible, while we must not saddle future generations with unnecessary obligations.

We need to do everything in our power to have more personal protective gear, so that our front-line workers, our doctors, nurses, EMTs and others could do their jobs safely and help people. It is still possible to have enough masks, gloves and protective suits to prepare for the outbreak growing, and we need to make efforts together to achieve that.

In closing, I would like to emphasize that I believe everyone wants to deliver Estonia from this crisis as successfully as possible, so everyone's normal life could continue. For that, we need to keep a cool head, work together and make efforts toward a common goal.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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