Journalists Hindrek Riikoja and Indrek Lepik criticized Prime Minister Kaja Kallas for failure to announce any enterprise support measures in a situation where the government has ordered stricter coronavirus restrictions on the Raadio 2 "Olukorrast riigis" talk show.
"It was cynical to say the least what PM Kaja Kallas did and said. The state cannot leave companies high and dry in a situation where everyone is asking the PM about support measures," Riikoja found. "We are not talking about compensating entrepreneurs for all expenses and helping them maintain results from two years ago. No one is talking about that! But the state must make it possible for companies to maintain a level from where they can return to normal business activity once restrictions are lifted," he added.
According to Lepik, Kallas suggested this week that entrepreneurs need to be prepared for hard times and have reserves to weather crises and that the state will not be compensating companies for employees staying home, similarly to what was done last year, this time around.
Riikoja described the message as cynical and incomprehensible, especially considering the fact local government council elections will be held this fall. "I cannot imagine what expectations Kallas could have for party sponsors or voters when making such statements," Riikoja said. "The state must help companies today and it needs to be done post haste," he noted.
The host added that when the previous government laid down restrictions in fall, they were quickly followed by a roadmap for support. "It is true that things that were promised were not always delivered – in the tourism sector for example – but there were measures. Today, the government has ordered restrictions, while we have no information in terms of planned support measures. This is no way for a government to behave. This economy cannot be managed this way in this crisis," Riikoja concluded.
He said that Estonia could borrow to finance support measures. "I understand that tax revenue is modest right now, while it doesn't matter whether we borrow an extra billion or not in the current situation – it will make no difference in terms of long-term fiscal policy. One cannot help but feel the government is proceeding based on core Reform Party policy where enterprise is expected to sink or swim without state intervention. This kind of policy is impossible in the current situation!"
The hosts of "Olukorrast riigis" also discussed the coronavirus situation, vaccination and party ratings.
Editor: Marcus Turovski