The Minister of Social Protection Margus Tsahkna replied to the interpellation concerning the maintenance allowance fund (No. 152), submitted by members of the Riigikogu Kadri Simson, Mailis Reps, Toomas Vitsut, Peeter Ernits, Mihhail Korb, Viktor Vassiljev, Aadu Must, Anneli Ott, Jaanus Karilaid, Erki Savisaar, Martin Repinski, Olga Ivanova, Tarmo Tamm, Enn Eesmaa, Dmitri Dmitrijev, Andrei Novikov, Oudekki Loone, Vladimir Velman, Valeri Korb, Mihhail Stalnuhhin, Kersti Sarapuu and Märt Sults on 11 February.
The interpellators referred to the Resolution of the Riigikogu according to which the Government had had to prepare and implement a system of guaranteeing maintenance allowance that would ensure timely receipt of the maintenance payments granted to a child. The interpellators wished to know why this Resolution had not been complied with.
Tsahkna said that he would submit the Bill to a Government sitting already in March. He noted that no time had been wasted and there had been no lingering. “Also, 7.2 million euro have been found in the budget negotiations, which will be the starting money for the maintenance allowance fund to actually begin to function,” Tsahkna said.
“We know that every fourth child in Estonia lives in a family raising the child alone. A very large number of these children do not actually receive maintenance allowance from the other parent. We also know that single parent households are in the most complicated economic situation in Estonia. In view of that, we have developed the principle of the maintenance allowance fund, together with the relevant organisations who represent these households,” the Minister explained. He added that this is not a new type of child or family allowance. “It is a separate scheme the aim of which is to send a very clear message that, if the parents have separated, the person has to take care of his or her child. If maintenance allowance has been ordered by a court, then this maintenance allowance has to be paid,” Tsahkna said. “The maintenance allowance fund alone is not “the whole picture”. The other side is how these debts are collected from debtors.”
On 1 March this year, a number of measures entered into force to make the life of maintenance allowance debtors more complicated and to give bailiffs more rights in order to collect the debt claims concerning children. “We have to understand that this money is not owed to the other parent or the state, but to children. And this amount owed to children has grown to over 10 million euro by today,” Tsahkna noted. The logic of the maintenance allowance fund is that, in any case, the aim is to collect from debtors the money that they owe to their children. “Up to 100 euro is the amount that the state will contribute in order to ensure at least part of the monthly receipt for the child,” the Minister explained. “I hope that the Riigikogu will support the launching of this maintenance allowance fund starting from 1 January 2017,” Tsahkna said.
The Minister of Social Protection replied to two more interpellations. They were the interpellation concerning the fulfilment of international commitments regarding disabled people (No. 150)
and the interpellation concerning the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (No. 162).
The Minister of Education and Research Jürgen Ligi replied to the interpellation concerning the promotion of vocational training (No. 147).
The Minister of Defence Hannes Hanso replied to the interpellation concerning the comprehensive national defence (No. 156).
On the motion of the Legal Affairs Committee, the third reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Penal Code and Amendments to Other Associated Acts which Increases Fine Unit (146 SE), initiated by the Government, was excluded from the agenda for the working week.
During the open microphone, Jüri Adams took the floor.
The sitting ended at 6.08 p.m.
Verbatim record of the sitting (in Estonian): http://stenogrammid.riigikogu.ee/et/201603211500
Video recordings of the sittings of the Riigikogu can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/riigikogu
(NB! The recording will be uploaded with a delay.)
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