The government says it plans to merge two of its state agencies which deal primarily with business and trade.
State credit agency KredEx, and Enterprise Estonia, which focuses on innovation, trade, foreign investment and the e-state, are the two bodies set to be made one, public administration minister Jaak Aab (Center) said Friday.
"According to substantive analysis, this shape of things emerges. Whether one roof should be set up and functions placed under it. We are looking at what the substantive overlap [between the two state agencies] is, and how they can be reorganized. There is also some shaking down of these institutions. Dusting them off, and ways to get them to work better," Aab said.
Finance minister Keit Pentus-Rosimannus (Reform) had mentioned the merger aat this week's government press conference this week, saying that consolidating the two institutions would contribute to making services that the business sector receives better, clearer and more transparently managed.
KredEx has been at the heart of a scandal which brought down the last Center/EKRE/Isamaa administration, when the fact of a secret services investigation into dealings between it, the state, and a real estate project in central Tallinn, came to light. The organization has issued several large loans to businesses hit by the coronavirus pandemic, including €100 million to shipping line Tallink, €37 million to fuel retailer Alexela and €10 million to aircraft maintenance firm Magnetic MRO, all agreements made last year.
Porto Franco's loan was worth over €39 million, a move which hit controversy when the announcement was made, since the project – a combination of residential, office and leisure space close to Tallinn's harbor area – was unfinished at the time, and not a revenue-generating business.
Jaak Aab noted analysis of the proposed merger would be needed first, noting that while KredEx is more loan-based and Enterprise Estonia, also known as EAS, grants-based, there was commonality between the two, which made both bringing their functions together, and greater flexibility, feasible.
This will lead to an avoidance of duplicated activity, and improve quality of work and make savings, Aab added.
The actual proposal will be the responsibility of the enterprise and IT minister, currently Andres Sutt (Reform), Aab added, putting a time-frame of months during which that might be achieved.
Enterprise Estonia works with consulates in cities abroad, including New York and San Francisco.
Editor: Andrew Whyte