Riigikogu finance committee sends supplementary budget draft to final vote

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Stenbock House in Tallinn, seat of the Estonian government. Source: Kaupo Kalda/ Stenbock House

On Monday, the Riigikogu's finance committee reviewed the amendment proposals submitted for the third reading of the draft supplementary budget for this year and proposed to the plenary that a final vote be held.

Committee chairman Erki Savisaar (Center) said that the parliamentary groups tabled the same proposals for the third reading as for the second reading. Again, they did not find support in the vote.

Savisaar said that the issues raised in the amendment proposals were important, but they were not directly related to the achievement of the objectives set in the supplementary budget. He added that they need to be reviewed and decided during the preparation of next year's state budget and state budget strategy.

"The finance committee proposed two amendments to the supplementary budget. Care institutions will be provided with funds to cover additional staff costs related to COVID-19 infections. The budgetary resources allocated to the fisheries sector to alleviate the crisis will be kept in reserve," Savisaar said in a press release.

He said the supplementary budget includes planned resources for care institutions, which in 2021 have incurred additional labor costs due to COVID-19 infections in the institution that have not been previously financed from the government reserve.

Retaining the budgetary resources meant for the fisheries sector for the alleviation of the crisis related to the spread of the virus causing COVID-19 in the reserve is related to the fact that this fish can be sold in Estonia under market conditions and does not require additional support.

"In processing the bill, the finance committee proceeded from the objective of allocating with the supplementary budget foremost the necessary resources to alleviate the needs of the Estonian population, companies, society and the healthcare system arising from the restrictions and the damage caused by the virus," Savisaar said.

According to Aivar Kokk (Isamaa), deputy chairman of the finance committee, in the current coronavirus crisis, in addition to maintaining public health, it is also important to revive the economy through various measures. This would help prevent potential damage to the business environment, so the resources needed for economic recovery should be allocated immediately without wasting time. "It is therefore a pity that our proposals were not supported during the supplementary budget procedure," Kokk said.

The package of measures in the draft supplementary budget includes funds for wage compensation in sectors where the workload is declining due to restrictions, continuation of sickness benefits from the second day of illness, additional measures for mental health, special care and rehabilitation, additional funds for medicines, vaccination, crisis management and support measures for the tourism sector, cultural organizers and creatives.

The supplementary budget also includes compensation for persons who have suspended second pension pillar payments in the amount of €117 million, which was not taken into account in the 2021 state budget.

According to the supplementary state budget bill for 2021 initiated by the government, the volume of the supplementary budget is €641 million.

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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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