Ministry officials had warned politicians about the effects of the excise hike, head of the Ministry of Finance's fiscal policy department, Sven Kirsipuu, told daily Eesti Päevaleht.
Kirsipuu told the paper that politicians had been told that the excise duty revenue forecasts had "very broad confidence limits." They had stressed from the beginning of the debate that their forecast had to be taken as no more than an estimate, as it involved a lot of different indicators.
One of the indicators had been the risk of people crossing the border to shop for cheaper goods, Kirsipuu said, which turned out to be "greater than expected." Another had been the tendency of companies to stockpile, where there had been "unexpected behavior" as well.
The ministry is still expected to hand in a single forecast that includes a description of the risks involved. The government then decides whether or not to take the risk of potentially coming in short of the forecast revenue, Kirsipuu explained.
How the forecasters themselves were now blamed for what happened was "sad to hear," he added. Of course it was difficult for officials to defend themselves against accusations, as their forecast had turned out to be wrong.
"But to hear that 'the Ministry of Finance made a mistake,' that's sad to hear. We also 'made a mistake' last year forecasting social tax revenue, which has turned out greater than expected," Kirsipuu said, adding that some degree of error is inevitable.
Editor: Dario Cavegn