The Riigikogu passed with 78 votes in favour the Bill on Amendments to the Road Transport Act, the State Fees Act and the Punishment Register Act (284 SE), initiated by the Government. The amendments to the Act will help reduce the financial costs and save the time of carriers upon application for road transport documents. The discarding of duplicating documents and extending of the periods of validity of activity licences as proposed will result in annual cost reduction of nearly 1.5 million kroons for carriers. Also, application for documents will become handier thanks to the possibility of electronic application for several documents. Nobody voted against the Act and nobody abstained.
On the motion of the Finance Committee as the leading committee, the first reading of the State Budget of the Year 2009 Bill
), initiated by the Government, was concluded. The Minister of Finance Ivari Padar
presented a report.While speaking about options in the budget policy and the contents of the state budget of the year 2009, the Minister of Finance asserted that the situation of the finances of the state was not bad. “The state has been able to accumulate reserves in the years of rapid growth which amount to 28 billion kroons as of today, accounting for 11 per cent of the expected gross domestic product in 2008 and accounting for 29 per cent of the expected volume of the budget of the year 2009,” said Padar. The Minister asserted that the state had sustainable funds to meet even more serious challenges than the ones posed so far and that the budget of the year 2009 continued in principle the existing financial policy of the Estonian state, that is, planning a balanced budget of the government sector. In the words of Padar, the revenue of the next year’s budget will amount to 97.8 billion kroons and the expenditure will be 98.7 kroons. Padar: “Security will be one of the main priorities next year, both in the specific as well as in the widest sense of the word. The increasing of defence spending is a difficult but necessary choice. The same is true about maintenance of internal security capacity.” In the light of the budget, Padar also spoke about contributing towards education, maximum use of the European Union supports and increase of pensions which exceeds the rise of the cost of living. The Minister of Finance stressed that the budget policy needed a critical revaluation. “We need a budget policy which enables to react to changes more rapidly and flexibly. We need a system which does not presuppose economic growth automatically but moves hand in hand with economic growth. The stabilising role of the budget can be increased by a better planning. We have to prepare the budget on the basis of the state budget strategy and for a longer period,” noted Padar. In the conclusion of his report, the Minister mentioned security and financial security as the primary goal. According to Padar, our monetary policy has been the greatest source of security for Estonia.
The Chairman of the Committee Jürgen Ligi presented a report on behalf of the Finance Committee.
On behalf of factions, comments were presented by Members of the Riigikogu Vilja Savisaar, Marek Strandberg, Tarmo Mänd, Eiki Nestor, Mart Laar and Keit Pentus.
The Estonian Green Party Faction moved to reject the Bill at the first reading. 49 members of the Riigikogu against the motion and 7 voted in favour, nobody abstained. Thus, the motion was not supported and the Bill was sent to the second reading. Motions to amend the State Budget of the Year 2009 Bill are to be submitted by 28 October 2008.
See the verbatim record of the sitting (in Estonian):
The Riigikogu Press Service