Riigikogu passes supplementary budget bill into law ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

A Riigikogu sitting.
A Riigikogu sitting. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

The supplementary state budge law passed its third reading in the Riigikogu on Wednesday, thus passing into law. A total of 55 MPs voted in favor of the bill; 10 Social Democratic Party (SDE) MPs voted against it, while Reform MPs abstained from voting.

The government submitted the supplementary budget bill to the Riigikogu on April 2.

The coalition, which consists of the Center Party, the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) and Isamaa, did not support any of the proposed amendments to the bill submitted by the opposition, which is made up of the Reform Party and the SDE.

Reform Party chairwoman Kaja Kallas asked Finance Committee chairman Aivar Kokk (Isamaa) why all parliamentary groups' proposed amendments were not taken into account.

Kokk responded that most of the proposed changes submitted by Reform were the same that had been submitted prior to the second reading of the supplementary budget bill.

"There were also fundamental proposed changes which differ from the opposition and coalition's current understandings, starting with not agreeing to reduce excise rates and ending with halting payments into the second pension pillar," Kokk said. "In connection with that, the majority of the committee did not support these proposals. And there was also one proposal that half of Reform members did not support."

Kallas: Reform doesn't support political 'Brezhnev package'

Kallas said that while the coalition had slipped the fulfillment of party election promises into the bill, it also includes critical crisis-alleviating measures, which is why the Reform parliamentary group would not vote against the bill.

"The Reform Party does not support the coalition's intent to use the supplementary budget to push through 'Brezhnev packages,' but we also won't vote against it," she said.

According to Indrek Saar, chairman of the SDE parliamentary group, the coalition parties couldn't resist the temptation to pursue party politics under the guise of crisis alleviation. He cited the halting of second-pillar pension payments as an example of this.

Second supplementary budget not ruled out

Kokk said that should the current emergency situation extend beyond May, the drawing up of a second supplementary budget may be possible, which he believed would likely be passed in July.

"It is certainly too soon to say right now that there will be a[n additional] supplementary budget, but at the same time, if we look at what is going on around us, that will certainly depend on when borders open up and these crisis restrictions are lifted," he said.

Following the supplementary budget, the government sector's nominal budgetary deficit for this year together with the government's economic support measures will equal €2.62 billion. The measures' effect on the government sector's nominal budgetary position is €1.15 billion.

The supplementary budget will reduce state budget revenues by €1.63 billion compared with the 2020 state budget. The impact of state budget measures on current budget expenditures will total €513 million.

With the supplementary budget, state budget expenditures will increase by a total of €118 million, investments by €10 million and financing operations by €2.12 billion. Measures will have a €513 million impact on state budget expenditures. In addition to these measures, also factored into the position is an increase of the state government reserves by €150 million and the establishment of a special-purpose reserve of €80 million for the covering of COVID-19 related expenses.

The package of amendments submitted together with the supplementary budget includes, among other measures, decreases in energy excises, additional investments as well as the opportunity to support businesses that are strategically significant to the state.

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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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