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Local paper: No sign of government taking up work on Ida-Viru investment program

The Narva and Ivangorod citadels.
The Narva and Ivangorod citadels. Source: Postimees/Scanpix

According to local paper Põhjarannik, the investment program of the coalition for Estonia's struggling north-east has neither made it on the government's agenda, nor have the experts involved in outlining its principles heard from the coalition when it was planning to work on it. Meanwhile, time is running out.

Next to taking part of the Estonian Academy of Security Sciences to Narva, the investment program for Ida-Viru County was one of the coalition's main points when the parties signed their agreements last year. Chairman of the Social Democrats and Minister of Health and Labour Jevgeni Ossinovski told local paper Põhjarannik that the principles of the investment program would become clear after a few months.

Prime Minister Jüri Ratas, who visited Ida-Virumaa earlier this year, confirmed to the paper that the plan for the program would be dealt with in late April or early May, but the program has yet to make the agenda of a government or cabinet meeting.

The Ministry of Finance sent out a press release in May that then-minister of public administration, Mihhail Korb (Center), wanted €20 million allocated to the county every year to improve the local quality of life as well as its business environment. Run for a decade, support would eventually have amounted to €200 million.

According to Korb's proposal, this money would have come out of environmental fees paid by the oil shale mining and processing companies in the area. The idea goes back to a proposal made by Minister of Entrepreneurship and IT Urve Palo (SDE) made in in February. It was also supported by an expert group on the subject Korb had called together.

One of the group's members, former MP Lembit Kaljuvee, told Põhjarannik earlier this week that the group hadn't met in a while, and that they didn't understand why the government hadn't discussed their proposals.

“I hear here and there that they are waiting for the new minister of public administration, Jaak Aab, to take office. But this isn't a story that could be taken seriously. If we want the Ida-Virumaa program to start next year, then we definitely need to make the principal decisions before Midsummer, because they'll also affect the budget. But there's no sign whatsoever at the moment that things are moving,” Kaljuvee told the paper.

Asked for comment, the Ministry of Finance had nothing to add to previous statements, and also couldn't say when the government would take up the subject.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

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