Gallery: Extraordinary Riigikogu session discusses supplementary budget ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Members of the Riigikogu held an additional session on Thursday morning to discuss the supplementary budget and draft amendments.

Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center) asked the Riigikogu for constructiveness in the drafting procedure of the supplementary budget. The plenary session of the Riigikogu started with 63 members out of 101, some wearing masks and protective clothing.

The bill will now move to the Finance Committee, where it will be discussed on Thursday and Friday. On Monday, the bill undergo its first reading in the Riigikogu.

A second reading is tentatively scheduled for April 13 and the third reading on April 15 or 16.

The supplementary budget is based on the economic forecast specified by the Ministry of Finance, which forecasts an economic decline of up to 8 percent this year, unless the government introduces additional measures. It remains to be considered that the confidence limits of the forecast are wide, as the situation is changing rapidly.

Minister of Finance Martin Helme said: "The latest forecast has been updated with the impact of the economic environment and restrictions of movement, but does not include government measures.

"The aim of the state is to reduce the economic downturn in the forecast by contributing to the economy in the form of various support measures. We are working to launch the measures as soon as possible."

Due to the emergency situation, the state budget strategy of 2020 will not be compiled in April.

The supplementary budget allocates money for the implementation of the package of economic measures adopted by the Cabinet of Ministers on 19 March and includes support for companies through KredEx, Enterprise Estonia and Rural Development Foundation, Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund labour market support, sickness benefits and tax benefits.

In addition, it includes measures with longer-term effects: deferral of tax arrears, temporary suspension of the government contribution to the second pillar of the pension fund, reductions of excise duties, as well as partial compensation for direct costs of cancelled events and lost income. The supplementary budget also supports local municipalities, the construction sector, IT developments, education and research, and other emergency measures and exceptional costs.

The supplementary budget is needed to bring public finances in line with changed circumstances, a statement by the government said.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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