Riigikogu finance committee to discuss state budget with ministers

Toompea, seat of the Riigikogu.
Toompea, seat of the Riigikogu. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

The Riigikogu's finance select committee will discuss the newly presented state budget for 2021 with ministers on Tuesday to clear up uncertainties and goals in each ministry's areas of governance.

Riigikogu finance committee head Aivar Kokk (Isamaa) explained the state budget is activity-based for ministry's areas of governance for the second year as Estonia changed to a new budget structure in 2020.

He added the new structure means the government will set goals for programs and state authorities will then provide services to reach these goals. The services have been defined in the budget down to quality, capacity and price.

Kokk said: "We wish to receive explanations from the ministers about their programs, which expenses are planned and what are the desired results."

Finance committee deputy chair Maris Lauri said this state budget comes with a budgetary strategy for 2021-2024 and there are plenty of questions.

Lauri explained: "It seems as if the government is too optimistic about using new EU measures, at the same time, 15 percent of the period's resources have not even been covered by projects yet. The period will end in less than three months."

She added that some statements made by members of the government are inconsistent with what is stated in the budget, including the topic of a central Tallinn Hospital in Lasnamäe, which Minister of Social Affairs Tanel Kiik (Center) said on Monday is a realistic project which will be completed in 2026.

Lauri said: "And some topics have not even been discussed yet but the public already knows about some odd spendings. Those and other things must become clear after discussions."

Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa), Minister of Defense Jüri Luik (Isamaa), Minister of Education and Research Mailis Reps (Center), Minister of Culture Tõnis Lukas (Isamaa) and Minister of IT and foreign trade Raul Siem (EKRE) are among those invited to the meetings.

The state budget for 2021 was presented by Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center) on September 30, the day after the coalition (Center, EKRE, Isamaa) agreed it.

The budget sees expenditures amounting to approximately €13 billion and revenues at over €11 billion. The nominal deficit of the budget will equal 6.7 percent of GDP and the structural deficit 6.6 percent of GDP next year.

Investments by the government sector will amount to €1.9 billion euros next year. The country will bring in €1.4 billion in external funding and it plans to borrow  €2.4 billion.

Read more on the state budget on ERR News.


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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