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The Prime Minister Andrus Ansip replied to the interpellation concerning the reserves of the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund (No 300), submitted by Member of the Riigikogu Hannes Rumm on 21 May. The interpellator referred to the decision made by the government headed by Andrus Ansip on 24 November 2005 to reduce the unemployment insurance payment rates by 40% because, according to the estimation of the government, the reserve had become unreasonably large. The interpellator wanted to know if the Prime Minister felt responsible for the insufficiency of reserves of the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund today. 

Ansip explained that the reserves of the Unemployment Insurance Fund are sufficient to finance its duties this year and also in the future. In the beginning of 2009 the net assets of the Unemployment Insurance Fund amounted to over 2.8 billion kroons, by the end of July there were about 2 billion kroons left in the reserves. The Prime Minister remarked that the global economic crisis and the bursting of our real estate bubble has brought the unemployment in Estonia to the level that was last seen in the beginning of 2000. With it, the payments of the Unemployment Insurance Fund have increased and the basis of unemployment insurance premiums has decreased. “Between February and May 2009, the deficit of the Unemployment Insurance Fund tore at the speed of 200 million kroons a month, arriving at 840 million kroons in the first five months. Such a situation asked for tough decisions from the Supervisory Board of the Unemployment Insurance Fund, the government and also the Riigikogu on increasing the payment rate and giving up laying additional obligations on the Unemployment Insurance Fund,” Ansip said. According to him, the financial situation of the Unemployment Insurance Fund is stabilising by now. “For example, in the end of July the deficit was 850 million kroons or only a little more than in the end of May. In spite of that, according to the recent estimate of the Ministry of Finance the deficit of the Unemployment Insurance Fund will be as much as 1.25 billion kroons by the end of this year. It is in the same range as the estimated deficit of all local governments together. As the budget deficit is calculated on the government sector as a whole, the state budget can therefore contribute less to other spheres,” the Prime Minister said. According to Ansip, the Unemployment Insurance Fund had collected enough reserves in the good times to fulfil its present obligations satisfactorily. About one third of the expenses of the Unemployment Insurance Fund are not covered by income this year. In this situation it would have been irresponsible to lay additional obligations on the Unemployment Insurance Fund. The unemployment insurance tax rate is at present established at the maximum level, 4.2 per cent. “The sooner it is possible to start reducing it again, the more competitive our business environment becomes,” explained the Prime Minister.
 
Ansip also replied to the interpellation concerning the advertising of submission of electronic application for parental benefit (No 298), submitted by members of the Riigikogu Lauri Laasi, Olga Sõtnik, Vladimir Velman, Toomas Varek and Enn Eesmaa on 21 May.
 
The Minister of Agriculture Helir-Valdor Seeder replied to the interpellation concerning the Regulation of the Minister that discriminates rural regions (No 306), submitted by members of the Riigikogu Arvo Sarapuu, Toivo Tootsen, Tiit Kuusmik, Ain Seppik and Kalle Laanet on 3 August.
 
On the motion of the National Defence Committee, the Bill on Amendments to the Defence Forces Service Act and Other Acts (535 SE), initiated by the Government of the Republic, was excluded from the agenda for the plenary working week.
 
The Riigikogu Press Service
 
 
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