Ministries asked to cut car fleet expenses

Coalition ministers' cars, outside the Stenbock House during the recent state budget discussions.
Coalition ministers' cars, outside the Stenbock House during the recent state budget discussions. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

The new budget wants ministries to save half a million euros by making cuts to their vehicle fleets. The National Audit Office (NAO) found cars were often underused in a report published seven years ago.

There are 1,445 cars in the state's car fleet, excluding emergency and special-purpose vehicles. In total, upkeep costs almost €6 million a year.

Minister of Finance Mart Võrklaev (Reform) asked ministries to make reductions of 8 percent to their transport costs. This would create a saving of half a million euros a year.

"Let's take the first step, then we'll see how we do," Võrklaev said, admitting that 8 percent is not much. "I would like to go further. But let's go step by step. Because institutions are different, ministries are different. This cut goes from the ministries to the state-run schools."

Each ministry must work out savings in its own administrative area.

"The expectation, of course, could be that there will be a review of whether ministries and agencies need so many cars," the finance minister said.

In 2016, a report from the NAO said the fleet was too large. At the time, there were 1,576 vehicles in regular use but most of them traveled less than 20,000 kilometers per year.

One suggestion was that ministries that are housed in the same buildings could share vehicles. Võrklaev said he supports the idea.

The minister added that officials also have other ways to move around the city besides using cars. 

"There is still plenty of opportunity to get around on foot and by bicycle, or by using public transport," he said.


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Editor: Mirjam Mäekivi, Helen Wright

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