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The Riigikogu passed two Acts: 

The Act on Amendments to the Plant Protection Act (473 SE), initiated by the Government, was passed with 82 votes in favour. According to it, the Estonian Crop Research Institute will organise the technical inspection of plant protection equipment and a course of professional training required for conducting the inspection. It is based on the Order of the Government of the Republic “Reorganisation of Jõgeva Plant Breeding Institute and the Estonian Research Institute of Agriculture”. The head office of the agency will be in Jõgeva county and testing points will be in various locations of Estonia. The Estonian Crop Research Institute will determine the location where the technical inspection of plant protection equipment and a course of professional training required for conducting the inspection will be organised. The document certifying the passing of the regular technical inspection of plant protection equipment will be valid until arrival of the term for the next technical inspection. 

The Act on Amendments to the Alcohol, Tobacco, Fuel and Electricity Excise Duty Act (449 SE), approved with 44 votes in favour (36 against), will reduce the waiting lists to cross the border and curb illegal trafficking of excise goods transported from non-Union countries. 

The Act specifies the rules for excise duty exemption of excise goods transported from non-European Union countries by travellers. According to the Act, alcohol and fuel which a traveller transports from non-Union countries to Estonia during one calendar month after he or she first arrives will be deemed to be in excess of the maximum limit exempt from excise duty. In the case of tobacco products, this applies during one calendar month after the second arrival. Fuel which is contained in a non-standard tank of a motor vehicle or motorised watercraft of a traveller will also be deemed to be in excess of the maximum limit. For a traveller who arrives from another Member State, tax liability on fuel transported in a non-standard tank of a motor vehicle or motorised watercraft arises on the day of arrival in Estonia. Excise duty rules for international carriage of goods and passengers will not change. Nor are there changes in the rules applicable to passengers who arrive in Estonia on and aircraft, train or ships. In addition, the procedure for supplying aircraft and ships located in other Member States with excise goods was amended according to the European Commission Regulation. 

The aim of the Act initiated by the Government is to reduce tax evasions when bringing excise goods into the country. As a result of that, border crossing queues will also shorten. More tax revenue, estimated to amount to 8.4 million euro, will be received in the coming year’s state budget. The Act enters into force on 1 December this year. 

The Riigikogu concluded the first reading of eight Bills: 

The State Budget of 2014 Bill (490 SE), initiated by the Government. The Minister of Finance Jürgen Ligi who made a report explained that, according to the Bill, the state will have 8 billion euro at its disposal which is 349 million more in comparison to this year. The taxable revenue will increase by 6.8 per cent as compared with the receipt planned for this year. Non-taxable revenue will decrease by 8.2 per cent in connection with a decrease in foreign money. The state will manage under these circumstances, despite critics, Ligi said. The expenditure of the state budget is planned to amount to 8.06 billion euro next year. In comparison with this year, it will increase by 377 million, that is, by 4.9 per cent. 

The salary funds of the areas of government will increase by 5.1 per cent and the average pension will increase by 5.8 per cent. The growth social expenditure will be significant. Social and other benefits to natural persons account for 27.7 per cent of the total volume of the state budget for 2014, that is, 2.28 billion euro. 

Next year, the planned total investment volume of the state budget is 832.1 million euro, that is, ca 17.6 per cent of all investments in Estonia. According to the Bill, the debt burden of government sector will grow to 10 per cent of the gross domestic product by the end of the next year. 

Ligi said that the coming year’s state budget can be characterised as conservative and sustainable. 

The Chairman of the Finance Committee Sven Sester who made a supplementary report gave an overview of the discussions that had been held in the Committee and meetings with representatives of different areas. 

Representatives of factions who took the floor during the debate presented their positions on the coming year’s state budget Bill. Aivar Sõerd, Sven Mikser, Kadri Simson and Sven Sester took the floor. 

On the motion of the Finance Committee, the first reading of the coming year’s state budget Bill was concluded. The term for submission of motions to amend is 30 October. 

The Bill on Amendments to the Alcohol, Tobacco, Fuel and Electricity Excise Duty Act and the Liquid Fuel Act (491 SE), initiated by the Government, provides taxes on fuels, including liquid combustible substance, according to the purpose of use. For this purpose, the rights of the tax authority are extended so that it would be possible to seize fuel and ask for an excise security, as necessary. The amendment will ensure equal competition for all fuel market participants and increase tax receipt. 

The Bill on Amendments to the Income Tax Act (492 SE), initiated by the Government, amends the provisions concerning the compensation paid for service or employment related use of a personal automobile. It also amends the provisions concerning the fringe benefit for the use of an automobile of the employer for activities not related to employment or service duties and the increased basic exemption applied to pensions. 

The Bill on Amendments to the Value Added Tax Act (493 SE), initiated by the Government, provides for restriction of the deductibility of the VAT paid upon purchase, including lease or rental, of automobiles, as well as upon purchasing goods and services related to them, e.g. motor fuel, repair, maintenance, etc. The justification for the restriction is the fact that it is difficult to monitor the use of automobiles for personal purposes and therefore it is taken advantage of to reduce tax liability. In order to reduce VAT fraud and check the value added tax, the format of the annex to the value added tax return is established. 

The Bill on Amendments to the Investment Funds Act and the Funded Pensions Act (501 SE), initiated by the Government, extends the term of validity of the maximum rates of the management fees of mandatory pension funds and amends the procedure for succession of the units of mandatory pension funds. 

The Bill on Amendments to § 3331 of the State Fees Act (494 SE), initiated by the Government, organises the state fee rates so that they would be justified and cost-based. The principle of solvency has also been taken into account because in many cases the archival notice is needed for granting a pension. 

The Bill on Amendments to the Social Welfare Act and the Social Benefits for Disabled Persons Act (471 SE), initiated by the Government, provides for the elimination of the bottlenecks related to the content and organisation of special welfare services for persons with special psychological needs which are financed from the state budget. The regulation concerning the provision of special welfare services will become more understandable to the persons who receive the service, the service providers as well as the Social Insurance Board which is the agency that prescribes special welfare services, enters into contracts under public law and exercises supervision.

The Bill on Amendments to the Defence Forces Organisation Act and Amendments to Other Associated Acts (487 SE), initiated by the Government, changes the structure of the Defence Forces with a view to realising the changes prescribed in the National Defence Development Plan with the aim of generating the military capability necessary to defend Estonia. The Bill will also solve the practical problems that have emerged with the organisation of the activities of the Defence Forces intelligence. The Bill creates preconditions for the development of equipped, armed and manned units with rapid response capability. The Bill merges similar functions of the Defence Forces into one structural unit, shortens the command line and reduces the number of different levels of command. 

The sitting ended at 7.36 p.m.

The Riigikogu Press Service 

 

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