Alcohol, Estonia, Financial Services, Taxation

International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Tuesday, 17.09.2019, 11:49

Estonian govt has agreed about idea of lowering alcohol tax

BC, Tallinn, 22.05.2019.Print version
The discussions on Estonia's budgetary strategy for 2020-2023 will be continued on the basis of the current State Budget Act and an agreement has been made concerning lowering of the alcohol excise duty, Finance Minister Martin Helme said after the government meeting on the subject of the budgetary strategy for four years and the state budget for 2020, informed LETA/BNS.

"We will go on based on the existing State Budget Act. We are searching for places where money can be saved and possibilities to achieve more with the same amount of money," Martin Helme told reporters after the meeting.

"Everybody has agreed that the alcohol duty will decrease: the discussion is over when, by how much, and whether it's going to be the same for all kinds of alcohol or different," the minister said.

The chairman of Isamaa, Helir-Valdor Seeder, said that the government is closer to lowering the alcohol excise duty than ever before.

During the discussion on the state's budgetary strategy for 2020-2023 at Vihula Manor on Tuesday, the government examined needs for additional financing of individual fields, possibilities to save on costs and potential revenue measures. The government will continue the discussion on the budgetary strategy and the state budget for next year at its Thursday's Cabinet sitting.

LETA/BNS has learned that the government dealt with an analysis of the sources for covering expenditure or the drawing up of a so-called Excel spreadsheet. Some of the important issues have been agreed upon.

The volume of the state budget for the next year is greater than that for 2019. Ministries' applications for funds for the next year exceed this year's state budget by at least 1bn euros.

When drawing up the budgetary strategy, the government will be guided by five principles: a family-friendly Estonia, a coherent society, a knowledge-based economy, effective governance, and a free and protected state.

The budgetary strategy for the next four years is drawn up every spring and the government usually approves it at the end of April. In the years of scheduled general elections, the government usually endorses the strategy by the end of May.

The state budget for 2020 is drawn up separately. In accordance with the amendments to the State Budget Act passed in 2017, 2019 is the first year when the budgetary strategy and the state budget bill are drawn up simultaneously. 

Like the budgetary strategy, the bill of the state budget for next year has to get the government's nod by the end of May. If necessary, the government will continue talks on the state budget in the fall based on the summer economic forecast. The Riigikogu handles the state budget bill in the fall.

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