The Riigikogu on Wednesday approved amendments that will grant Estonian defence contractors the right to manufacture and handle military weapons, ammunition and ordnance.
According to Minister of Defence Jüri Luik (Pro Patria), the importance of the amendments lies in the creation of the opportunity for domestic defence industry enterprises to manufacture, transport, store, repair and demilitarise military weapons, ammunition and ordnance, spokespeople for the Ministry of Defence said.
"The change is extremely important, with the winners being Estonia's economy, security and companies," the minister emphasised. "The absence of the right to handle weapons and ammunition has long been a serious concern for Estonia's defence industry, one that hinders the development of the defence sector."
Thus far, armaments and ammunition have been acquired from abroad for the most part, according to the minister. Now, however, the situation is changing, and the export opportunities of Estonia's defence contractors will increase as well.
Under the amendments, operating licences will be issued exclusively to companies registered and operating in Estonia, and entrepreneurs, owners, managers, responsible officials and employees will have to pass a background check.
The bill estimated that five or six domestic companies will apply for permits during the first year, and one or two annually in subsequent years.
The Riigikogu also passed an amendment that will allow the authorities to apply for restricting the validity and issuance of permits and licences to military duty dodgers.
Editor: Aili Vahtla