One of the biggest ideas of the Ida-Viru County program discussed in the Cabinet last week involved paying a monthly stipend of €300 over the course of at least ten years to vocational education and higher education graduates who begin working in Ida-Viru County, regional paper Põhjarannik said.
Minister of Public Administration Jaak Aab (Center), who presented the program at last week's Cabinet meeting, told the paper that all young people who have a certificate from an institution of vocational education or a degree from an institution of higher education and come to Ida-Viru County to work, whether for a state institution or a private company, would be paid a monthly stipend of €300 by the state. "This is the plan — this is my proposal," Aab said. "I sincerely hope that it will be approved as well."
The minister added that the details regarding the pyment of the support will have to be reviewed and agreed upon in the government. "But young people should receive such support for at least ten years," he said. "This involves hundreds of young people — not only those who live here now, but those who are coming from elsewhere to work here as well."
Aab noted that the aim of this measure is to motivate young adults to remain in Ida-Viru County.
He added, however, that Ida-Viru County is not the only region in Estonia where the outflow of young adults is a big problem. "I am also cncerned by Southeastern Estonia," he said. "We must consider regional policy in those regions from which most people are leaving."
In addition to the support for young adults, Aab also proposed paying investment support to businesses that create jobs in Ida-Viru County. He said that the sum of the one-off subsidy to small or medium-sized businesses should be between €100,000-400,000.
"It is not secret that we are diligently building industrial parks and the state has invested money in them, but businesses should also come to the parks now," said the minister, adding that this kind of subsidy is required to alleviate problems Ida-Viru businesses face with securing loans from banks.
According to Aab, the government is deliberating giving a state loan guarantee to business investments mde in other regions. "We would also provide investment support in Ida-Viru County — to concrete projects, with application rounds — to those who establish new or expand existing businesses here, which results in the creation of new jobs — whether they are in industrial parks or elsewhere," he explained.
Three-minister work group formed
Ministers at last week's Cabinet meeting did not reach an agreement regarding the Ida-Viru County program. The government formed a work group to resolve conflicts that have arisen in connection with the program. Members of the work group include Minister of Public Administratin Jaak Aab (Center), Minister of Justice Urmas Reinsalu (IRL), and Minister of Health and Labour Jevgeni Ossinovski (SDE).
The government has earmarked €5 million from next year's state budget for activities of the Ida-Viru County program; this sum is expected to increase to €10 million beginning in 2019.
The work group is also planning on developing a long-term and stable financing model for the Ida-Viru County program. There has been talk in the past of directing environmental charges paid by oil shale businesses to the program, but the Ministry of the Environment was against this idea. According to Aab, they are also deliberating the intended use of the oil shale resource fees paid into the state budget.
According to the minister, the work group will submit their proposals to the government in one month's time.
Editor: Aili Vahtla