Sunday’s political talk shows on ERR radio channels discussed the rapid economic growth, wage growth, as well as the epidemic situation in Estonia in connection with the new version of the Omicron coronavirus.
Indrek Lepik and Hindrek Rijoka said on the Raadio 2 “Olukorrast riigis” show that salary advances are already reaching high-paid employees. According to the survey, most executives are planning to increase their salaries next year, so Rijoka called on people to increase their salaries.
Anwar Samost and Huko Aaspollu told Vicerraadio that rapid economic growth and tight tax revenues should make it easier to keep the state budget in order.
Riigikogu left out of the budget process
Samost and Aaspollu found that Rigikogu’s long-standing involvement in the state budget process, known as the activity-based budget, left members of parliament with almost no role.
“In Riygikogu, no one really discusses the state budget. For the first time, I see a large number of MPs admitting in front of the camera that they have little understanding of the draft state budget,” Samost said.
Aaspollu noted that members of parliament had not been interested in every detail of the draft budget in the past, while Samost representatives replied that they had at least analyzed parts of the budget that belonged to them or were interested in them.
“But it’s become more difficult and vague over the last three or four years, because we’ve got an activity-based budget that often consists of hastily developed programs, indicators, and tables with unique explanations,” Samost explained. “For two years in a row, there have been serious budget errors. The National Audit Office only saw this after the bill was approved by the government and the Riygikogu Finance Committee. Frankly, it’s all in the budget. I’m a little embarrassed!” he continued.
Aaspollu agrees that the transition to an activity-based state budget has cost a lot of money, but no one is using it in this way. “Ministries and agencies look at it from a cost perspective and then turn it into an activity that doesn’t benefit anyone,” he said.
Members of Parliament are participating in the “protection money” part of the budget
“However, the level of detail and knowledge of MPs on a certain part of the state budget tends to be much higher. It is a regional investment (or part of the so-called Rigikogu protection money) of 3 million euros. 25 percent of Estonians.” the most successful local government reaches Tallinn, ”Samost said. He explained that he disrespected members of parliament for everything related to security money.
From there, Samost and Aaspollu concluded that many skilled politicians prefer to work in recent years because they are less dependent on members of parliament and their salaries are lower than those of the heads of major local governments.
Samost also asked what would have happened if a member of parliament had used his € 30,000 security money to hire an assistant.
Aaspollu said the MP had been criticized for being polite to his party colleagues, while his aides said he would improve the quality of the MPs’ work.
The Omicron version may make a difference
Both shows concluded that the new Omicron version of the coronavirus could cause major social changes.
Indrek Lepik highlighted how the markets have reacted to the new strain. Countries have also imposed travel restrictions.
Rykozha suggested that the demagoguery of the overreaction and confrontation could be seen once again. He believes the new version will hit countries less vaccinated, and that the Nordics are less likely to suffer than the Baltic states.
Samost and Aaspollu said on Sunday that Estonia needed to ease measures as it turned yellow from the high-risk orange threat.
Samos stressed that many of the coronavirus restrictions in force in Estonia have not been examined by the courts for their constitutionality and purpose.
Aspollo said the new version is sure to spread in Europe and its impact on society is a question of concern. “In that sense, I can’t see the restrictions being lifted, even if we’re yellow,” he added.
His co-host said it was pessimistic that governments were flying overland and closing borders for fear of new congestion.
Eesti Post offers services instead of doing business
Lepik and Rijkoja have long discussed plans to close Eesti Post, a national postal service, as it is unprofitable to keep post offices open in rural areas.
“I want to tell [the Minister of Economy and Communications] Taavi Aas that this is a pig farm. Not because it is unprofitable for the government to provide services to the private sector,” Rijoka said. He added that the company should be state-owned, as the government is responsible for providing postal services. “Cutting the postal service will not save the country any serious money, and the costs can be offset by money earned elsewhere.”
Lepik gave a similar example of Nordica, a national airline that is supposed to transport Estonians, but not. “That’s right! The state considers Nordica necessary, but I don’t think it’s the same as the Eesti Post,” Rijoka said.
Lepik mentioned that people in Estonia need to live in different places, and that the postal sector is a way for people to connect with the state and the central government.
Other topics included the Supreme Court’s decision on the responsibility of vaccinating members of the armed forces, Kersti Kalulaid’s political plan, Eesti Paevalech’s influential Estonian scheme, and plans to allow construction near the pool.