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The Minister of Social Affairs Taavi Rõivas replied to the interpellation concerning old-age pension (No 333), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Eldar Efendijev, Enn Eesmaa, Kadri Simson, Lauri Laasi, Mailis Reps, Mihhail Stalnuhhin, Tarmo Tamm, Valeri Korb, Viktor Vassiljev, Vladimir Velman and Yana Toom on 8 May. 

The interpellators noted that the idea of the pension system should be to ensure a minimum standard of living for pensioners. The interpellators wished to know the Minister’s opinion on whether the Estonian pension system is in conformity with this objective. 

Rõivas explained that the Estonian pension rates depend on the situation of our economy, and the better the economy does, the higher pensions can be paid. “The parliament has established an automatic growth and I consider such automatic growth as a principle certainly better than one-time decisions. Such an automatic growth certainly gives a greater feeling of confidence to the elderly,” Rõivas noted. 

According to the Minister’s explanations, he is of the opinion that at least the average old-age pension and preferably also the pension which somewhat exceeds the average old-age pension should be exempt from income tax. “We have agreed that we will discuss the income tax exemption when we draft the next year’s budget,” Rõivas said. He added that this work would begin in late summer this year. Then we will also have to make the decision on whether we can increase the income tax exemption on pensions or we can increase the exemption deductible from the income in general. Rõivas admitted that this decision is to be made in concordance with the financial possibilities of the state. He believed that it is reasonable to do that while drafting the state budget. 

Rõivas noted that the affordability of pensions is the basis for the feeling of confidence of the people because if the state has an unaffordable pension system then everybody understands that this cannot last long. However, this puts strain on the people whose subsistence depends on the pension. The Minister of Social Affairs discussed the bases for calculating the pension and the proportion of units of pension funds connected with this within the context of different generations. 

Rõivas also replied to interpellations concerning caring for close relatives (No 334) and dental care (No 342). 

Prime Minister Andrus Ansip, the Minister of Justice Hanno Pevkur, the Minister of Finance Jürgen Ligi and the Minister of the Environment Keit Pentus-Rosimannus also replied to the interpellations of Members of the Riigikogu. The interpellations concerned a conflict of interests of a member of the Government of the Republic and appointment of members of supervisory boards of state enterprises (No 344), verification of the giving of a digital signature (No 329), the activities of the Tax and Customs Board and outstanding taxes (No 340), the legislative proceeding of the Packaging Bill (No 338) and appointment of members of management and controlling bodies of state-owned entities (No 341), respectively. 

During the open microphone, Mihhail Stalnuhhin took the floor. 

The Riigikogu Press Service