At the beginning of the sitting of the Riigikogu, at a formal ceremony, the President of the Republic Kersti Kaljulaid took the oath of office and made a speech before the Riigikogu. President Toomas Hendrik Ilves also made a speech.
Then the Riigikogu heard replies to four interpellations.
Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas replied to the interpellation concerning the receipt of excise duty on diesel fuel (No. 228), submitted by members of the Riigikogu Kadri Simson, Kersti Sarapuu, Valeri Korb, Anneli Ott, Tarmo Tamm, Märt Sults, Siret Kotka and Viktor Vassiljev on 31 May 2016.
The interpellators referred to the fact that, according to the data of Statoil, after the rise in fuel excise duty, hundreds of thousands of litres of diesel fuel less has been consumed in Estonia and, on the basis of that, fuel consumption by transport operators is likely to decline by up to 40 per cent in Estonia. The interpellators wished to know when the Government was going to review the fuel duty rises planned for coming years. Does the weak receipt of fuel duty also in the second quarter give the Government an impetus to do something?
The Prime Minister explained that, in fact, the quantities declared have been notably larger than expected. “Despite the excise duty rise, fuel consumption has not decreased in Estonia, but has grown. So in other words it can be said that the excise duty rise has not made the “impact” that is generally expected of excise duties, that is, pressure to reduce consumption. In fact the trend has been in the opposite direction: fuel consumption has grown in Estonia,” Rõivas said. He said that the receipts of fuel duty have also grown – 12.6 per cent more this September than last September and, in total, in nine months, he restated, 13.9 per cent more than last year. “Both in the second quarter and, as far as we know up to now, in the third quarter, the receipts have been higher than has been planned in the current budget.”
Rõivas admitted that the impacts of raising a fuel duty, just like the impact of every excise duty, must actually be constantly assessed. “Of course, if necessary, changes have to be considered. However, if we look at the facts, the receipts and the consumption information in the first nine months of 2016 give no logical reason to radically change the excise duty policy,” the Prime Minister said. He added that the receipt of excise duties exceeded the state budget expectations by 8 million euro. Rõivas said that the Government is also aware of the fact that, before the duty rise, in many companies engaged in international carriage residing in Estonia, drivers refuelled their vehicles for example in Russia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland where the price of diesel fuel has been somewhat lower for years already. “However, we have to take into account that those who carry goods to various countries are very likely to buy their fuel in the country where it is the cheapest on their route. They have done so earlier and will continue to do so in the future,” the Prime Minister noted.
The Minister of Entrepreneurship Liisa Oviir replied to the interpellation concerning the coalition agreement (No. 238).
The Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure Kristen Michal replied to the interpellation concerning the services provided by the state moving further away from the people (No. 231) and the interpellation concerning the situation in the state air carriers (No. 233).
The sitting ended at 5.46 p.m.
Video recordings of the sittings of the Riigikogu can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/riigikogu
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