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Estonian finmin: Volume of stabilization reserve sufficient for potential crisis

BC, Tallinn, 08.10.2018.Print version
Estonian Finance Minister Toomas Toniste rejected the criticism of members of the opposition Reform Party's parliamentary group regarding the extraordinary dividend of listed state port company Tallinna Sadam and said that the government decided to direct 57 mln euros of profit to the liquidity reserve as Estonia's reserves are sufficient for potential crises, reported LETA/BNS.

"This has been confirmed to me also by the Finance Ministry's risk management committee, which among other things has the task of making proposals regarding the terms to be imposed on reserves," Toniste said.

Reform Party MPs Aivar Soerd, Urve Tiidus, Maris Lauri, Aivar Surva, Terje Krei, Keit Pentus-Rosimannus, Juri Jaanson, Ants Laaneots, Peep Aru, Johannes Kert and Urmas Kruuse referred to the announcement that the extraordinary owner's income assumed by the state brought Tallinna Sadam to a great loss. The government decided to direct the 57 mln euros of extraordinarily earned income not to the stabilization reserve, that is for the state's future needs and mitigating future risks of the state, but to the liquidity reserve. Those who made the inquiry wanted to know the reasoning behind the decision.

Toniste said that the transfer of the assets to the stabilization reserve takes place according to the State Budget Act and this law has also been followed. "However, it is important to note here that when collecting reserves we must look at the whole. And in the sense of the whole, the difference lies foremost in how various assets can be used during a crisis. In this context, the stabilization reserve is rather the final backup, not the main crisis buffer," the minister said.

According to Toniste, the liquidity reserve is foremost for mitigating possible risks, including coping with a crisis, for which a minimum rate has also been set. The aim of the Finance Ministry is to ensure the management of the state's risks so that the state will be able to finance its obligations also in crisis situations such that the stabilization reserve would not have to be used or by postponing taking it into use for as long as possible.

The minister noted that according to estimates, the budget of the government sector will be at a structural surplus and a nominal surplus of approximately 173 euros in 2018.

"Therefore, the government's budget policy is responsible and, considering the structural balance goal and the State Budget Act, conservative and responsible," the minister said. Toniste highlighted that of Tallinna Sadam's dividends, only 46.2 mln euros is reflected as income in the 2018 state budget and 58.8 mln euros is reflected a financing transaction, at the expense of which expenses cannot be made, therefore it is automatically added to the budget surplus.

"Whether the sum will in the end be reflected as reserves or debt burden change will not change the budget's balance," Toniste said. The minister added that Tallinna Sadam's dividends have been between 30-50 mln euros in the last four years. This is why, in terms of budget income, this is not an extraordinary income in 2018, but rather a regular situation. "This is why, in principle, we cannot speak about financing budget expenses from extraordinary income," Toniste said.

Tallinna Sadam's loss for the half-year was 2.3 mln euros due to dividends. The state company's sales revenue for the six months was 62.1 mln euros.

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