The Ministry of Finance (Rahandusministeerium) has suspended financing through the State Shared Service Center of projects in the field of promoting equal opportunities and gender equality from the proceeds from the gambling tax.
Minister of Foreign Trade and Information Technology Raul Siem (EKRE), in his capacity as the acting finance minister during Martin Helme's (EKRE) vacation, said that the Ministry of Finance does not consider it right that the Ministry of Social Affairs continues to use the budget funds received from the gambling tax for the wrong purpose on the grounds that the recipients have a legitimate expectation to receive support.
The ministry is of the opinion that the State Shared Service Center, as a state agency implementing subsidies, cannot make payments from funds received from the gambling tax to projects that do not correspond to the areas specified in the Gambling Tax Act.
Consequently, the State Shared Service Center must suspend the disbursement of grants for the Estonian Women's Associations Roundtable's project "Together Towards a More Equal Society", the Estonian Women's Studies and Resource Center's (ENUT) project "ENUT and Partners Promote Gender Equality" and the Estonian Human Rights Center's project "Equal Opportunities in a Cohesive Society".
As the developer of the Gambling Tax Act, the Ministry of Finance agrees with the position expressed in the memorandum of the National Audit Office that the supported areas have been misinterpreted and therefore the proceeds of the gambling tax have been used for purposes not provided by law.
The Ministry of Social Affairs can also use budget funds other than those received from the gambling tax.
This recommendation has also been given by the National Audit Office in its memorandum - the Minister of Social Affairs should in future finance projects in areas of activity that are not listed in the Gambling Tax Act from other budget sums of the ministry.
Editor: Katriin Eikin Sein