Today, the Economic Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu (Parliament of Estonia) decided to terminate the activities of the Estonian Development Fund in its present form. The Economic Affairs Committee also decided to reorganise foresight activities by establishing a development monitoring unit at the Riigikogu.
Chairman of the Economic Affairs Committee Toomas Kivimägi said that the decision to terminate the activities of the Development Fund had been both long awaited and feared. “It is important that before the decision about the Development Fund, the Economic Affairs Committee passed the decision on the need to make foresight activities more effective and establish a relevant structural unit at the Riigikogu,” Kivimägi said.
“This is also a logical continuation to the recent decision to reorganise the investment activities of the Development Fund by transferring them under KredEx. In the situation where in ten years there will be 80,000 working age people less than today in Estonia, it is not thinkable that the state can continue with the same number of structural units or state agencies. It is necessary to start from somewhere,” Kivimägi added.
6 members of the Committee voted for the decision, two representatives of the Centre Party faction were against.
In April the Economic Affairs Committee will prepare a bill that would enable to adopt all reforms by the end of the spring session of the Riigikogu.
Member of the Economic Affairs Committee Maris Lauri said that an independent unit with its own budget and decision-making competence, like the national election service that is being created, would be established at the Riigikogu to continue the foresight activities of the Development Fund. “It would be a small team that will conduct and support foresight activities. High-quality foresight activities are ensured if we can involve as much as possible different parties and the best specialists from Estonia and abroad,” Lauri said. She expressed hope that business organisations, the Academy of Sciences, universities and also the wider public would be ready to participate in establishing a clearer picture of the long-term development possibilities of Estonia.
Lauri explained that investment activities would be brought under KredEx, so that all state measures supporting entrepreneurship would work in harmony. “This is the first larger step in consolidating different organisations that support entrepreneurship, and in reorganising the whole system,” Lauri said.
“Although there has been much criticism about the activities of the Development Fund, I consider it important to balance it by pointing out that their contribution to making risk investments, their research in energy economy and activities in the area of smart specialisation deserve recognition. Or that the issue was not people, but a wider picture and structure,” Kivimägi said, and added that it was also important to note that these decisions had been made by the Economic Affairs Committee and the final decision would be passed by the Riigikogu in the Session Hall.
The Riigikogu established the Estonian Development Fund ten years ago in order to contribute to the development of the Estonian economy through investment activities, and foresight and growth programmes.
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