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The Minister of Economic Affairs and Communications Juhan Parts replied to the interpellation concerning closure of post offices in rural areas (No 62), submitted by Member of the Riigikogu Heimar Lenk on 6 May. The Minister explained that postal operators were commercial enterprises everywhere in the Member States of the European Union. On 1 January 2009, the postal market is going to open in respect of all services. “In a few days’ time we will have to submit a relevant Bill to the Government in support of opening of the postal market in Estonia,” said Parts. The Minster noted that the universal postal service was not profitable. “No Act or Regulation provides that the availability of postal services should depend on a post office or its opening hours. An open post office does not necessarily mean postal service. Obviously, all circumstances will have to be considered from the standpoint of the enterprise. In all likeliness, the network as it is will be unprofitable,” said Parts. “But this is not to say that those postal services should not be provided,” explained the Minister. “We just do not need to keep post offices with such a small number of postal acts. Believe me, Eesti Post is not closing any counter service points where people are queuing at the door from morning until evening and waiting for postal services,” assured Parts. “We look at the number and density of residents; we look at the development of motored carriage, and so on. So, I believe that the management of Eesti Post makes such decisions on an individual basis, taking account of the current economic indicators of each post office and the local needs,” stated the Minister of Economic Affairs and Communications.

The Minister of Finance Ivari Padar replied to the interpellation concerning the balance of the budget of Tallinn (No 57), submitted by Member of the Riigikogu Taavi Rõivas on 21 April. The Minister said that the loan burden of Tallinn had not exceeded the limit of 60 per cent of the budget as permitted by law. Padar explained the overall situation and emphasised that a major reason for drawing up a savings budget in terms of the balance of the government sector was certainly local governments’ expenditure. “We have reckoned with a roughly 800 million kroons deficit as regards local governments. For example, figures from local governments might shift the balance one way or another over this year, in the amount of nearly a billion kroons. It is obvious that the financial policy of local governments plays a fairly significant role as regards budget balance,” noted the Minister of Finance.

The Minister of Social Affairs Maret Maripuu replied to the interpellation concerning shortage of kindergarten places, submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Mailis Reps, Ain Seppik, Olga Sõtnik and Jaak Aab on 23 April.

The Minister of Education and Research Tõnis Lukas replied to the interpellation concerning long day schools (No 59), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Mailis Reps, Ain Seppik, Olga Sõtnik and Jaak Aab on 23 April, and to the interpellation concerning opportunities for renovation of student accommodation facilities (No 63), submitted by Member of the Riigikogu Aadu Must on 6 May.

The Minister of the Environment Jaanus Tamkivi replied to four interpellations. These were the interpellation concerning environment and GMOs (No 61), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Arvo Sarapuu, Rein Ratas, Tiit Kuusmik, Jaak Aab and Valeri Korb on 5 May; the interpellation concerning Estonian forest (No 64), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Inara Luigas, Arvo Sarapuu, Jaak Aab, Lauri Laasi, Jüri Ratas and Helle Kalda on 6 May; the interpellation concerning radon risk (No 65), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Lembit Kaljuvee, Valeri Korb, Tiit Kuusmik, Heimar Lenk, Toomas Varek and Vladimir Velman on 7 May, and the interpellation concerning the oil-shale use development plan 2008-2015 and implementation plan (No 72), submitted by Member of the Riigikogu Marek Strandberg on 13 May.

Members of the Riigikogu Jaanus Marrandi, Ester Tuiksoo, Karel Rüütli, Mai Treial and Villu Reiljan withdrew their interpellation concerning taxation of agricultural producers (No 66), submitted to the Minister of the Environment Jaanus Tamkivi on 7 May. Therefore, the issue was not discussed.

The sitting ended at 6.13 p.m.

The verbatim record of the sitting (in Estonian) can be found at:

 

The Riigikogu Press Service

 

 

 

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