At today’s plenary sitting of the Riigikogu, Prime Minister Jüri Ratas made a political statement in connection with the Bill on the supplementary budget for 2020.
Prime Minister Jüri Ratas said that the size of the proposed supplementary budget was approximately 2.6 billion euro. It contains a package of economic measures to support businesses through KredEx, Enterprise Estonia and the Rural Development Foundation. It also includes the labour market benefit of the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund, sickness benefits and taxation decisions.
“Under the supplementary budget, we will also allocate more than 200 million euro to healthcare for three months for covering the extraordinary costs related to coronavirus,” Ratas said. He pointed out that, additionally, the budget addressed measures with a longer-lasting effect, such as payment of tax arrears in instalments, temporary suspension of contributions to the second pillar of the funded pension scheme, as well as reductions in excise duties that are important to businesses and individuals, and partial compensation for direct costs and loss of profit related to events that have been cancelled due to the prevention of the spread of the virus.
The head of Government said that the supplementary budget supported local governments through crisis assistance measures and through investments. Targeted allocations are intended for Estonian island regions where movement restrictions are in place at present.
The Prime Minister added that the supplementary budget also provided for contributing to IT-development, the education and research sector and other sectors that are connected with the emergency situation and extraordinary costs.
According to various estimations, unemployment may rise to 10 per cent and economic recession may reach 8 per cent or more in Estonia in the current rapidly deepening crisis. Ratas said that that estimation was however not taking into account the additional measures aimed at mitigating the predicted economic recession.
Representatives of factions took the floor during the debate. Kaja Kallas spoke on behalf of the Reform Party Faction, Kersti Sarapuu on behalf of the Centre Party Faction, and Paul Puustusmaa on behalf of the Estonian Conservative People’s Party Faction. Helir-Valdor Seeder spoke on behalf of the Faction Isamaa and Indrek Saar on behalf of the Social Democratic Faction.
The Riigikogu made amendments to the Bank of Estonia (Eesti Pank) Act:
At today’s additional sitting, the Riigikogu passed the Act on Amendments to the Bank of Estonia (Eesti Pank) Act (97 SE), initiated by the Finance Committee. It specifies the bases for the formation of the membership of the Supervisory Board of the Bank of Estonia, and the requirements for members of the supervisory board, and the term of their mandate.
According to the Act, the Supervisory Board includes representatives of the factions of the Riigikogu, and four experts in the field nominated by the Chairman of the Supervisory Board. It is specified that the members of the Supervisory Board of the Bank of Estonia must have sufficient knowledge and experience to participate in the work of the board, and no member of the Supervisory Board may be appointed for more than two consecutive terms. The amendment will ensure legal clarity in the appointment of members of the Supervisory Board of the Bank of Estonia and will preclude a situation where the appointment of a new membership of the Supervisory Board may be delayed in the future.
The Act specifies how the factions of the Riigikogu nominate their candidates to the Supervisory Board of the Bank of Estonia and how the representatives of the factions are appointed. It also specifies the procedure for the appointment of alternate members, and the duration and functioning of their mandate in cases where a judgment of conviction in a criminal case enters into force with regard to a member of the Supervisory Board of the Estonian Bank or prohibition on business is imposed on him or her.
61 members of the Riigikogu voted for the passing of the Act.
Video recordings of the sittings of the Riigikogu can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/riigikogu.
(Please note that the recording will be uploaded with a delay.)
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