TALLINN - Functioning solutions have to be devised quickly in order for the impact of the coronavirus on the Estonian economy to be as small as possible, Finance Minister Martin Helme has said.
"It's difficult to predict right now how long the virus will last and what its eventual scale will be, but it is already negatively affecting the global economy and the economy of Estonia," Helme said at the meeting of a working group that gathered to discuss the impact of the coronavirus on Monday.
"It is a task of the state to do everything possible for our businesses not to go bankrupt and for them to be able to survive this difficult time. No matter whether relief comes from various tax measures, credit underwriting or business loans, for instance," the Estonian Conservative People's Party (EKRE) minister said.
He also described it as very important that the economic shock will not cause unexpected problems for the labor market and that those who lose their jobs as a result of the crisis do not find themselves in a difficult economic situation, adding that if necessary, there is readiness to invigorate the economy through the state budget.
The problems and the needs may be very different in different sectors of the economy and even in different companies of the same sector. The working group will chart what areas come under the biggest pressure and what would be the most suitable solutions for supporting them.
In addition, different scenarios will be analyzed when it comes to the impact on Estonia's economic growth and budget rules. Potential areas of concern in the financial sector will be charted separately.
According to the minister, it is time critical to map out suitable measures and solutions within the next couple of weeks to be able to implement them at once if the situation aggravates. The working group's next meeting will take place on Friday.
The working group brings together, in addition to the minister of finance, Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure Taavi Aas, Minister of Foreign Trade and IT Kaimar Karu, deputy governor of the Bank of Estonia Ulo Kaasik, as well as experts from the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, the Government Office and the Bank of Estonia.
In relation to the issue of employment, Minister of Social Affairs Tanel Kiik has been invited to the working group's next meeting.