Government announces national stockpiling center plans

Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure Taavi Aas
Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure Taavi Aas Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

The government is to establish a centralized, national stockpiling center by mid-2021, as the result of lessons learned during the coronavirus pandemic. The center will be responsible for liquid fuels, food and other essentials, as well as medicines and personal protective equipment (PPE).

Minister of Economic Affairs and Communications Taavi Aas (Center) says the coronavirus has clearly pointed out shortcomings in supply, distribution and security of essential stocks, with a central institution responsible for this lacking.

"The decentralized nature of supply of stocks at present has led to a situation where there are not enough supplies, and during emergency we have focused on determining the stockpile provider and ensuring the availability of stocks. As a result, we have been forced to spend significantly more time and money to buy stocks than necessary," Aas said.

Aas proposes setting up the national center, which would involve placing the current Estonian Oil Stockpiling Agency (OSPA) under the administrative area of ​​his Ministry.

The new body would concentrate the organization of the procurement, storage, quality control, renewal and distribution of PPE, medicines, veterinary medicines, antidotes, medical supplies, food and essential goods, as well as liquid fuel.

The center would also be responsible for logistics, analysis and monitoring, he said.

A long-term, efficient and effective solution is needed, he went on, to avoid medicine PPE stocks passing their expiry dates without being replenished, and other undesirable situations.

The ministry and OSPA together are to submit proposals to the government in September, with a view to the center becoming a reality by July 2021.

Legislation changes in respect of the Emergency Act, the National Defense Act, and other laws, will accompany the process.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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