EKSPRESSI ARHIIVIST: Hans H. Luik: Oh, oleks parem Siim Kallas!(285)
Seoses asjaoluga, et Taavi Rõivase valitsus tõotab kohe-kohe kukkuda, avaldame uuesti Hans H. Luige arvamusloo "Oh, oleks parem Siim Kallas!". Tekst ilmus esimest korda 18. mail 2015. Kaldkirjas järgneb autori poolt 8. novembril 2016 lisatud täiendus.
Ma ju ütlesin!! Oleks Rosimannuse tiib Siimu peaministriks lasknud, poleks olnud tarvis minna Keskerakonda kutsuma appi vabariigi valitsemisel.
Otsustamata on valitsuse seisukoht uute elektrihindade suhtes. Rail Balticu trass tuleks ära muuta, kuna Tuhala kandis ei ole mingeid "karstijärvesid" maa all, mida minister Pentus kalli ümbersõidu põhjuseks tõi. Venemaaga, sõgeda naaberriigiga, puudub piirileping. Ei ole seadust moodsate jagamisteenuste kohta. Apteekide alal pole, nagu konkurentsiamet kinnitab, korralikku võistlust, vaid mingi maskiball samade omanike apteekidega. Teha on palju. Hea, et Ligi ei saanud Tsahkna vastuseisu tõttu erakoolidele äkilist ehmatust korraldada.
Laste vaba aja ringide toetus tuleks täismahus taastada, nagu oli enne kriisi. Vaeste perede lastel pole korvpallitrenniks enam raha näiteks. Lastele on treener või juhendaja oluline rollimudel.
Noort Siim Kallast meil ju võtta ei ole, ent mulle meenub autosõit 1993. aastal läbi Eesti Rein Langiga. Noor Hans Luik ja noor Rein Lang kuulasid himukalt kassetti, kust kõlas noore Siim Kallase kõne Eesti krooni esimesel aastapäeval. Teedrajav, enesekindel, võitluslik kõne.
Eesti Pangal ei ole alles selle kõne helijälge, ent lingin siia artikli alla BNS-i kokkuvõtte noore Kallase mõtetest. Lihtne on märgata, et Kallas oli maksude asjas radikaalsem kui suur ärategija Mart Laar.
Tänast koalitsiooni iseloomustab "ühe käega võtan, teisega annan" ideepuudus. Siim Kallase juhtimisel ma seda ette ei kujutaks. Kallas teab, mis on nullsummamäng.
Eesti enesetunne on julgeoleku alal vapper-närviline. Umbes kümme aastat tagasi nurjasid poliitbroilerid parteidevahelise kätshi käigus Eesti-Vene piirilepingu ratifitseerimise. Nüüd on seetõttu täiesti Venemaa teha, millal täpselt allkirjad antakse.
Eurotsooni majanduses aga on "välja tulistatud kõik padrunid", nagu ütles nädalavahetusel Eestis viibinud suurpanga HSBC nõukogu liige. Kas stagnatsioonist õnnestub pääseda? Keegi ei tea. Selline olukord vajab karastatud, iseseisvalt mõtlevaid juhte.
Siim Kallas õppis Eruoopa Komisjonis suure süsteemi toimimist. Kõrgeimal tasemel, kui eestlasele kunagi on võimalikuks saanud.
Kallas on auahne, kuid ta ei põe EMORI-hullust. Loeme ajakirjadest perekond Kallaste meelitatud ja "puiklevaid" vastuseid võimaliku presidendilossi kolimise teemal. Aga miks siiski ei võinud Siim Kallas olla Reformierakonna peaminister?
Tema kogemus, vaimuteravus ja hooletu elegants aitaksid reformareid broilerlusest üle saada. Kallas puistab käisest erinevaid näiteid riikide käitumisest kriiside ajal, on enesekindel riigirahanduse analüüsija - mida veel? Ei ole eemalviibijana enam pädev õukonnamängudes? Seda oskust saab ju sisse osta.
Kallase komistuskiviks sai Reformi tagatuba, kes poleks lasknud peaministrikandidaat Kallasel isegi oma kabinetiülemat valida. Kuid mis sellest? Kui Siim oleks esialgu nõustunud pakutud ustava kaadriga, võinuks peaministriks tõustes ebavajalikud karjeristid lihtsalt minema saata.
Rain Rosimannusel oli Postimehe intervjuus ühes asjas õigus. Rosimannust ei saa tõesti siduda info tilgutamisega Kallase 20 aasta taguste garantiikirjade kohta Eesti Pangas. Eestist ootamatu lahkumise põhjuseks tõi Siim Kallas just vanade pattude üleskerkimise.
Kuid kunagistele allkirjadele peab ju leiduma mõistlik seletus ja vabandus. Kallase puhul pole keegi tõestanud, et ettevaatamatud tehingud Eesti Pangas sündisid omakasust. Värske Briti valitsuse majandusminister Sajid Javid maadleb ametiaja esimesest päevast etteheidetega seoses boonustega endisest töökohast, pangast. Minister annab asjakohased vastused, hoiab pea püsti ja läheb edasi.
Rõivas ei oleks iial sama ettevaatamatu kui noor Kallas, ent tuleviku suhtes pole ta ka sama ettevaatav.
Laupäeval pidas tähtsate saksa külaliste ees kõne meie välisminister Keit Pentus-Rosimannus. Esinemine toimus programmeerimisfirma Nortal kontoris, kohal olid Saksa poliitikud, Audi AG ja Lambhorgini nõukogu liige, isegi Arvo Pärt.
Pentuse standardset, riskivaba kõnet jälgis eemalt ka Siim Kallas. Adusin, kui südamest kahju mul on, et ta enam kunagi Eesti valitsuse nimel ei esine.
EESTI PANGA PRESIDENT: EESTI MAJANDUSPOLIITIKA PEAB OLEMA
(BNS refereerib Siim Kallase ettekannet Eesti krooni aastapäevakonverentsil, TALLINN, 18. juuni 1993)
Eesti Panga president Siim Kallas
kutsus reedel üles muutma Eesti majanduspoliitikat veelgi
parempoolsemaks ja liberaalsemaks, tagamaks seeläbi majanduse
kiiret ja dünaamilist arengut.
Esinedes Eesti krooni taaskehtestamise 1. aastapäeva
konverentsil, ütles Kallas, et protektsionism ning siseturu
kaitsmine tollibarjääridega "viib katastroofi ja väga suure
kriisini". "Selles kontseptsioonis peitub surmaoht," lisas
Pangajuhi sõnul nõutakse praegu kõige enam kaitset
välismaise odava põllumajandustoodangu, põlevkivi ja tsemendi
eest. Kallas leiab aga samas, et impordipiirangud viivad
hinnatõusule ning ekspordi ja töökohtade vähenemisele.
"Eesti majandus on uskumatult väike ja ääretult avatud,"
Teiseks pooldas Eesti Panga president maksukoorma
vähendamist miinimumini, ettevõtte tulumaksu täielikku kaotamist
ja senise progresseeruva üksikisiku tulumaksu asendamist
proportsionaalsega. Kallas ütles, et inimestele peab jääma
kodanikuvabadus oma raha käsutamiseks, mis seisneb piirangute
kaotamises raha teenimisel ja maksude hoidmises võimalikult
Kolmandaks leidis Kallas, et Eestis pole veel mindud lõpuni
monopolide lõhkumisel. Tema sõnul tasuks mõelda "Eesti Energia",
"Eesti Põlevkivi" ja telefonifirma jaotamisele mitmeks
Eesti Panga president ütles ka, et suur osa haridus-,
tervishoiu- ja pensioniteenustest ning maa ja kinnisvara on
praegu tururinglusest väljas. Ta pooldas senise riikliku
haridus-, tervishoiu- ja pensionisüsteemi märksa laiemat
asendamist eraomandil põhinevate asutuste ja fondidega.
Kallas tunnistas, et pensionäride probleem on delikaatne,
kuna "kõik nad on valijad". Samas leidis ta, et pensionite
totaalne suurendamine ei ole muud, kui täiendav koormus riigile.
Kallase arvates peaks aidatama eelkõige tõepoolest vaeseid
inimesi ja "mitte tegelema demagoogiaga".
Eesti Panga juhi sõnutsi kavatseb keskpank liberaliseerida
valuutapoliitikat nõnda, et mõne aja pärast oleks nii firmadel
kui ka eraisikutel õigus kasutada välisvaluutat ilma mingite
piiranguteta. "Me ei näe siin enam ohtu Eesti kroonile,"
Peaminister Mart Laar ütles BNS-ile, et Siim Kallase vaated
on valitsuse omadega peaaegu sarnased.
Ta kinnitas, et peatselt Riigikogule esitatavas maksureformi
seaduses on esitatud Kallase omadele lähedased ideed. Ettevõtte
tulumaksu kaotamist pidas Laar siiski veidi liiga radikaalseks.
Laar kinnitas, et valitsus astub kindlasti
protektsionistlike meetmete vastu. Peaminister kommenteeris
põllumajandusministri Jaan Leetsare sõnu, et siseturgu tuleb
kaitsta välismaa odava põllumajandustoodangu eest: "Leetsar
pidas silmas kindlaid tooteid, mida tuuakse Eestisse
"Eesti ei saa lubada maale tooteid, millele naaberriigid
peale maksavad," lisas Laar. Praegu on teada vaid üks
dumpingujuhtum, mis on seotud sisseveetava Vene nisujahuga. Kui
dumping leiab kinnitust, kavatseb valitsus kehtestada ka
/Lisan ka ingliskeelse tõlke samast Eesti krooni esimesest aastapäevast, allikas Eesti Pank/
Mr SIIM KALLAS
Governor of the Eesti Pank
PROS AND CONS OF THE REINTRODUCTION OF THE ESTONIAN KROON
Dear guests, ladies and gentlemen.
I would like to thank the previous speakers for all their kind words about the Estonian kroon.
At 4 a.m. on June 20,1992, the Soviet rouble ceased to be the legal tender in Estonia and it was replaced by the Estonian kroon as the new legal tender. We had all been looking forward to this step. We were not yet aware of the challenge. We supposed that the ideas and steps taken were correct. Nobody knew what would actually happen - the future was unknown.
Assessments of what actually has occurred have been varied.
Quite recently I read a letter clearly expressing that all problems in Estonia are caused by the introduction of the Estonian kroon.
Of course there is no such thing as an economic reform which can please everyone.
In answer to the question that if I were to begin again the preparations for monetary reform, would I find it necessary to do something differently, I would say just as I said last August: we made optimal decisions, and if we could wind the clock back, we would
carry out the monetary reform in the same way. Actually no one has suggested any other reasonable alternative reform.
WHAT HAS BEEN LEFT BEHIND?
What were our objectives and what are the results which could be called achievements?
Do you remember, friends, our life before the introduction of the Estonian kroon? Do you remember such things as coupons? Do you remember gasoline lines and uncertainty — you never knew when you could use your car. Do you still remember the meaning of the phrase "having an acquaintance"? Do you remember apartments turned into store rooms, full of all kinds of goods, including washing powder which, according to the papers, made people cough?
Do you remember unwashed shop windows? Do you remember restaurants never having vacanttables? Do you remember hard currency stores as only sightseeing attractions for some people - if they were allowed to enter at all? We should not forget all this, although it would be pleasant not to remember.
Do our entrepreneurs remember the time when accounting had to be done in two different currencies: one being fine, noble, Sun-god-like foreign currency; the other—the despicable rouble, about to crumble into dust. Every transaction required separate accounting, going abroad meant one had to keep separate accounts of expenses.
Do you remember, when working was motivated not by earning money, but by having proximity to goods.
THE PRESENT DAY
I consider the liquidation of the "deficit economy" the biggest achievement of the monetary reform. We cannot overestimate the fact that today one can buy practically everything for kroons in Estonia and for relatively reasonable prices at that. Just imagine what kind of a new motivation for working the present situation provides.
The economists in the Soviet Union considered this goal very desirable 30 years ago, but they never reached it and our neighbour Russia has not yet reached it.
Two important factors have determined the change from seller's market to buyer's market.
Firstly. The rigid convertibility of the Estonian kroon has made the existence of hard currency shops a nonsense, it has opened doors to the flow of imported goods, to a wider choice and competition for the buyer.
Secondly. National policy to liberalize prices and abolish trade limits.
THE INFLATION TEMPO DECREASES, PROBLEMS REMAIN
The slowing down of inflation and steps taken in monetary policy are directly linked to the monetary reform.
In 1993 the inflation rate will probably be around 30%, hopefully less than that. It is an achievement compared to the past, and also to inflation in the thousands of per cents in neighbouring countries.
Certainly a lot remains to be done to reduce the inflation to the internationally acceptable low level comparable to that of our anchor currency, the German mark, and to the German inflation rate.
FREE FROM A FOREIGN MONOPOLY
Our third achievement is breaking the monopoly of
trade to the east which is of great importance for our small state and its market, both economically and politically.
If, in 1991, the share of the former Soviet Union in Estonian foreign trade was 85%, then in 1992 the share was 42% for imports and 30% for exports. This is normal, since we are neighbours, and neighbours trade with each other. It is important that the present eastern trade excludes any possible political pressure. Estonian economy has achieved actual independence.
In 1992, the Bank of Estonia was accused of knowingly attempting to destroy the currenttraditional economic relationship with the east.
To some extent we did. We considered it necessary to abolish the dominating economic relations in the Estonian economy which meant the uncompetitive forcing of low quality goods produced here upon the eastern partner, and the uncompetitive supply of raw materials from the eastern partners for subjective prices using the surviving structure of the planned economy. And all this, regardless of substantial difficulties in conducting payments, which arose not because oftechnical reasons, but because of the partners' insecurities.
Yes, we were, and are against such eastern trade. We supported the liquidation of Soviet inter-republic compulsory relations. We are all for extensive eastern trade based on internationally recognized market rules, free from nation-wide mandatory administration.
We are even convinced that one of the essential sources of economic growth and wealth in Estonia lies in relations with Russia.
A JOINT PROJECT OF THE ESTONIAN PEOPLE
I have to underline certain prerequisites and conditions without which we would not have had a successful monetary reform, and then we could not have efficiently used the strong points of the reform.
First and foremost of course: the gold our forefathers had deposited in other states and in international clearing banks before World War II. The restoration or return of the gold to us in one way or another was definitely an important prerequisite. Without it we could not have developed our hard currency reserves and built up a fully guaranteed kroon. Using the kroon we should not forget that it was created by the work of our forefathers. This work is living on in the kroon. This means responsibility.
I recall last April and May. We had the draft monetary laws ready, reflecting the core of the Estonian monetary reform. Most foreign experts displayed
a negative attitude, some distrust and even mockery. In some sense, we were quite alone. We also had many friends and enthusiastic supporters, many of them are present today. I would still like to say that the dominating feeling among foreign experts was rather sceptical.
We asked the parliament to support the draft monetary reform. The Supreme Council approved our plans unanimously. Today we can say that this resolution was of great historic importance.
We could have attempted to make these decisions in a nother way - based on the authority of the monetary reform committee. It is not difficult to realize today the effect of the mandate given on May 20, 1992, on our monetary policy. This mandate has been extended twice by a vote in the present parliament. I refer to the resolutions passed during the banking crises, and to the adoption of the Law on the Bank of Estonia.
The public support expressed by the political forces in the parliament has created a real foundation and guarantees for the Estonian kroon in the future.
The situation would be different if there had not been harmony between the government and Eesti Pank during the execution of the monetary reform and the implementation of the current monetary policy. Both the two previous governments led by Edgar Savisaar and Tiit Vahi and the present Mart Laar government have pursued quite similar economic policies with the aim to promote a market economy. Without a liberal pricing and foreign trade policy and a balanced budget we would not have our stable currency.
I would like to underline that the Estonian kroon is in many ways a joint project of the Estonian people. Today it is an achievement of our society. Tomorrow the stability of the Estonian kroon will depend on the behaviour of the society, first and foremost, and on the success and competitiveness of its people on the international front.
A large number of people was engaged in the preparation of the monetary reform. It is impossible to name all the 20 000 participants. In my opinion all these people were dedicated, concentrating on a common aim, worked assiduously and well.
There were employees of Eesti Pank who prepared documents for the adoption of laws, the resolutions of the monetary reform committee as well as banking instructions.
The Council of Eesti Pank who looked through and adopted a number of important banking resolutions related to the monetary reform.
Experts from the International Monetary Fund whose professional assistance was very valuable and vital after the principal decisions had been made. Otherwise we would have made several mistakes - we therefore appreciate this help very highly.
I would like to recall those who laid the foundation
to the idea of our own currency. In 1987 Tiit Made, Edgar Savisaar, Mikk Titma and I signed a document proposing an economically self-sufficient Estonia -where the concept of our own currency was mentioned for the first time.
And also the members of the first monetary reform committee, Prime Minister Edgar Savisaar, my forerunner Rein Otsason, the Governor of Eesti Pank, who all did much.
I would also like to thank Jeffery Sachs and Ardo Hansson who inspired us and worked side by side on the draft project for the new Estonian currency. The central idea in this was, in a way, a return to the gold standard, which can now be seen as a renewed project for the currency board.
We were far from sure whether the Estonian people and the international public would take seriously a piece of paper we called money, which was backed by the blessing of the Estonian government and of Eesti Pank, but completely unknown in the world. We wanted something more serious, simple and understandable to back our currency. Therefore we returned to the 100% guarantee. This decision made the Estonian kroon trustworthy and faith in the kroon has been constantly increasing.
Definitely much was done by those who actually physically created the money: the artists Vladimir Taiger, Urmas Ploomipuu, coin designers Ants-Ivar Raud and Arseni Molder, "Juveel" company managers Rein Mikli and Viktor Johanson, and also our partners from "Thomas de la Rue Co. Ltd." and "U.S.Banknote Corporation", the actual printers of the money.
GOD HAS LANDED
We had heated debates on the topic of convertible currency in our former parliament. This topic is still actual. When preparing the monetary reform there was debate over whether any strong foreign currency was better than anything we had. The point was whether to have "relations" with the rouble or not, how to consider the right to own hard currency.
Submitting the draft laws we were afraid that if there were no restrictions regulating the use of foreign currency in the Estonian domestic market, it would be difficult if not hopeless to introduce the Estonian kroon as the only legal tender. It is possible that we were too worried. Nobody could have forecast then, or can say now, what would have happened if we had "dared" to make different, possibly wrong decisions, and preserved alternative foreign currency markets and circulation. Foreign currency at that time was still the almighty Sun god.
Today we are not afraid any more. We have already
submitted a proposal to liberalize the Law on Foreign Currency and the parliament has approved it. We will continue this liberalization. The aim is to provide full freedom-if you wish, you can keep your bank account either in kroons or in foreign currency.
The fact that we have liberalized rules for the possession and use of hard currency has not jeopardized the kroon. On the contrary: many problems have been solved better than before. The liberalization of the possession and use of foreign currency has been useful for Estonia. We shall continue the liberalization of the foreign currency rules and regulations.
HARMONY IN RIGIDITY
It is surprising that society has accepted relatively well the principle of a balanced budget. Consequently several world states envy us, since an unbalanced budget creates large and long-term problems for society. Stable monetary policy, reliable currency and not over-spending are values in our society. These are values not much argued over here any more. It is not like this everywhere.
Economic and political problems are today, and will be in the future, associated with Estonian currency and monetary policy. Which is more important today: to tell you what we have done in cooperation with Eesti Pank and the government, or to deal with the principal economic and political issues which are important for the future? I have decided to focus on the future and to underline some points as well which will be of importance later.
NO EXTINGUISHING FIRE WITH GASOLINE
Banks play a tremendous role in the circulation of a currency. The reliability of banks and currency are interrelated.
By last fall we were in a situation where three banks owed 336 million kroons. The situation was very bad.
Drastic measures taken in November led to the closure of several banks. Both clients and shareholders suffered. No doubt they were very angry. We in Eesti Pank regret that these things happened.
Two solutions were theoretically possible: either.to compensate for the mistakes made by incompetent management and by lack of control with the gold of our forefathers or at the expense of taxpayers. Neither option was acceptable. The necessary sum for the "charity purchase" would have been big enough to cause the collapse of the fund backing the kroon. There
was no sum available from the budget. We were actually in a very critical situation. Such a painful solution was and is, no doubt, part of our monetary policy.
We know countries in which there is no end to "subsidies" paid to commercial banks to keep them going. How long can a society put up with this? In any case such long-term behaviour is more expensive and painful for society than a sharp and decisive "cut". Inevitably shareholders, and also partly creditors, have to share the liability for the failure of commercial banks.
At present one of the main tasks of Eesti Pank is to avoid, in cooperation with commercial banks, similar reoccurrences in future.
We do not have yet an efficient preliminary warning system to predict the immed iate future well enough. The main responsibility in maintaining the creditabil-ity of banks is with owners and partly with creditors. Eesti Pank intends to develop an efficient monitoring system which will enable it through an early warning system to spot possible dangers to commercial banks. We have to keep our eyes open today and in future, Although banks are today able to meet the clients' needs and the clients' money is in no danger, it is difficult to predict what could happen tomorrow. We have to be vigilant even if we had the best preliminary warning system in the world.
As of today, we have overcome the insolvency of banks, but that of clients has remained.
Unpaid accounts are an illegal form of credit. If no fine is paid for the delay, or it is very small, we can speak of a soft loan and this could create inflation.
Debts have to be liquidated both in banks and with clients - bad debts constitute a loss. If a company cannot survive this loss, it will go bankrupt. Providing credits for debtors would mean extinguishing fire with gasoline. It could only make the situation worse.
I would like to stress: we have to look out for payment problems today and always.
OPENNESS PROTECTS AGAINST INFLATION
All kinds of protectionist ideas in the economy have been and will be most dangerous for the Estonian kroon and monetary policy. Propagating this idea of "protection of the domestic market*' is very active right now in Estonia.
I would like to decipher the phrase "protection of the domestic market". What is a domestic market? A market is an area or a room where purchase and sale take place, where the buyer wants to buy as cheaply as
possible, as good products as possible. The seller is interested in selling his/her goods for as high a price as possible. The winners make the most favourable choice and make a deal. As simple as that.
What kind of measures do they want to apply to protect the domestic market? Mostly protective duties. Who will be protected? Today "the protection of the domestic market" means protecting the producer against the consumer. They want to protect the production of uncompetitive goods and inefficient management. Therefore they do not talk about protecting the consumer, but the producer.
In this context the protection of the domestic market would mean a death blow to the future of the Estonian economy. The application of such protection creates inflationary pressure and can endanger the rate of the kroon in future.
Let us take a closer look at this problem. Most often they want to prevent the import of agricultural products, cheap oil shale and cheap cement. Just imagine that the government and the parliament passes such resolutions which would prevent the import of certain goods by applying duties or price measures.
What would happen? The consumer's position would become worse. There are always more consumers than producers. The choice decreases and the pressure on the buyer increases. The buyer is once again in the hands of a monopoly. The producer, having no competitor and being protected, lowers the quality and increases the price. Inflation gathers speed. The consumer has to buy "protected" goods for a monopolistic price.
At first the producers in more favoured sectors easily get rid of their products and there are no cuts in the work force. At the same time, in unfavoured sectors the production cost goes up, the competitiveness, export, real wages and profits go down, jobs are reduced and this leads to decreased profits in the favoured sectors which were on the winning side. As there never is, and never will develop, sufficient competition in the favoured sectors, these will never be able to produce anything for export. As a result gross profits decrease, and the number of jobs is reduced in the economy.
What kind of protection of the domestic market or to be more exact - consumer protection - do we support? We believe that quality can be the only principle in consumer protection while pursuing liberal economic and free competition policy. The consumer should be protected from bad production. If in the same shipment of cement protected by the same quality certificate there are different, also lower kinds of cement, the consumer has to be protected the day after tomorrow from the collapsing houses built of this cement tomorrow. If imported eggs are infected with
salmonella, their import has to be restricted so that our people would not be infected. If the use-by-date of imported foodstuffs has expired, then for health reasons they should be sent back at the border. Our own producers should be exposed to the same conditions. Only then we can speak about consumer protection.
I would say that managers who spend most of their time submitting claims to the Republic of Estonia, to its government, are cowardly and inefficient. There is no risk involved. Nothing to fear. They are afraid of the client, consumer. They hide from him or her, they would rather flee. To the planning committee, if there were one. We have to make an effort to produce in an open world, on the free market. Herein lies the only secret of our long-term success.
We have had times in the past with only one key word: quantity. Quantity for whatever the price, by a set date. Quantity meant money. In the name of the plan, any salary could be paid. Inefficiently utilized sums of money, sometimes called credits, were injected into the economy. We still hear opinions that there should be planning institutions, i.e. the government should say how much to produce. I do not understand why "Baltika" or any other similar company docs not ask how many suits should be produced in Estonia. Mr.Jalakas has often told us how successful umbrella production turned out to be in rain-free Lesoto. Should we really pass a national resolution on umbrella production as it rains often in Estonia? This is not a market philosophy. After all, production managers will have to decide themselves what to produce and what to do with the production.
Our balance of payments proves that the Estonian economy is an open one. This is very important. Another important factor is that both Estonia and its domestic market are incredibly small. Estonia is neither the United States, Germany, Poland nor even Finland. We have two options. Either to isolate ourselves with all kinds of barriers as Albania did and become economically stunted or to continue with the open economic policy and thus move towards a higher livingstandard. Our economic welfare canbe based on complete openness. One of the secrets of our success today lies in free import creating a motivation for export.
It is interesting that a real impulse for exports, so often spoken about, can be achieved only by freeing imports. The freer the import, the more successful the export. This has been proved by the experience of state overcoming similar obstacles. We have our own examples here as well: e.g. it is said that cheap imported eggs create a danger for Estonian egg producers. Facts show that the export of eggs roughly equals the import. As soon as we start limiting the import of eggs or other products, the same is applied to our export. I am
convinced that economic protectionist barriers would be detrimental for Estonia.
THE STRONG ARE RESPECTED, THE WEAK PATTED
Well, it is said that our neighbours did this or that and protect their market by not letting us to sell and compete. They really do it and even a Finnish official has expressed an idea that Estonian import should be restricted, since our goods are far too competitive on the Finnish market. These are not the tactics to be applied. We are too small to use the same methods. We have to face the real world. To face the world were nobody really awaits us or loves us.
When we were a country and a society trying to break loose from the Soviet Union we were regarded as invalids to be cared for and generous assistance was provided. We are deeply grateful for that. Today we are overcoming our handicap and some people who have soothed their inner feelings by patting our head are not happy about it. Let alone those who have been talking about our inability to cope on our own.
Many doors shall be closed to our competitive products. This is probably the biggest problem of the relatively successful small states who are in transition from socialism to capitalism.
It is easy to speak about difficulties. It is nice to receive money as gifts and credits. They are freely promised. As soon as we start speaking about export, we discover how many restrictions there are. Especially if the former weakling has quite unexpectedly got on his feet. On the other hand we should regard this stricter attitude as an acknowledgment. Special advantages exist for weaklings and the weak request them. Those fit to live are equal partners. I will never tire repeating - our chance is to produce and sell so that the restrictions do not become dangerous. It would be impossible to answer with the same kind of restrictions.
I claim that protectionism, and steps meant to protect one or another sector, one or another enterprise, to close our small market, are a chain leading us to a catastrophe and to a deep crisis. This begins from the first step: you first give the devil a finger, and next he takes the whole hand.
MONEY AND REVOLUTION
We could say that money has created a revolution. Maybe it is strange to compare these two words, but nevertheless, let us consider. For some reason or other, revolution is such a term in world history which
involves idealism, some kind of majesty, and yet money is a notion associated with all kinds of low passions, immorality, violence.
Money is despicable, especially in culture. Heroes with plenty of money are bad; heroes fighting against money are good. But revolution means also big changes — especially radical, fundamental changes.
Has the transfer to monetary relations in society not necessitated the biggest, quickest and the most radical changes? Changes which have not involved as much blood and violence as revolutions, carried out for the sake of noble ideas.
Money is one of the most satanic and smartest inventions in the history of the mankind. People have frantically hated and frantically desired money. Both sides dominating by turn.
The fast development of a money-based economy in the last century was opposed by the socialism which is so well known to us and which in its extreme cases decided to ignore money. This attempt has taught us a lesson not to be forgotten.
The core of socialism was to abolish injustice, i.e. some people having more money than others.
The idea itself is quite old and we have all propagated this to our children. This idea is reflected in many fairy tales.
The hero is always very poor or comes from a poor family, but very smart. Somewhere there is gold, silver, diamonds. The owner of the gold is often a cannibal. Gold is overcast by blood, surrounded by dragons and other monsters. The hero conquers the monster, kills cannibals and becomes the owner of the gold. Expropriation of property is a noble act. There is no answer to the question -whether the poor hero becomes a cannibal in another fairy-tale?
Let us recall a fairy-tale written by Kreutzwald about a smart old man. A lord of the manor had collected a treasure with violence and blood, plundering his people, and hiding it. The smart old man fights devils, gets the money and distributes it to the poor. But what would happen next? Will there be another smart man to deprive him of the gold?
Especially remarkable are the fairy-tales by Charles Perrault. The owners of the gold are always cannibals. It is like this in nearly all his fairy-tales. Do you remember Puss in Boots who changed the cannibal into a mouse and then ate it, and the gold was returned to the poor but honest? Will the poortailororshoemakerwho received gold from Puss in Boots become a cannibal and then will another Puss in Boots deprive him of the money.
The idea to deprive somebody of something and distribute it to somebody else is quite old. It explains why the idea is so popular and why it keeps cropping up. We can and do discuss which idea has advanced
society more. The idea of taking something away from somebody? Or the idea to work hard and to prosper if there is no danger of being deprived of your earnings?
By the way, Machiavelli has said that people are peaceful if their property is not endangered. For some reason or other I am inclined to think that the latter is more reasonable as a society and its people live better.
Both in our society and elsewhere there are many forces spreading hatred towards money and wealth. No doubt, there are bad people among the rich. Just as they are everywhere. It is dangerous to spread hatred. If society accepts, as it did in Soviet society, that money is bad and taking it away is a noble and revolutionary idea, the prosperous will soon lose the motivation to work. This motivation will disappear as soon as it is clear that you cannot do anything to increase the welfare of your family or that you will be deprived of everything. We have survived it once already.
Why am I talking about this? In order to underline a certain principled approach to our economic-political decisions, and a hard currency is one part of this.
Does one of the possible answers not lie in the fact that well regulated financial relations, regardless of all shortcomings, reflect best the differences in human abilities. The revelation of truth can be most infuriating. Financial differentiation, or that based on abilities, is an unavoidable supplement to the monetary policy which includes the introduction of the Estonian kroon.
The fact that the Estonian monetary reform provided animpetus to continuous differentiation of people, can also be considered one of the shortcomings of the monetary reform. We are moving towards a society where the differentiation of people based on income is the basic promotional force in society. Simultaneously approving and disapproving of this would not promote development.
The transition of social relations from ignoring the effect of money to the active and positive application of money and its laws is not less revolutionary than the confiscation of wealth from the wealthier members of the society by force and its "just" redistribution.
I would like to stress that money and its laws are the least subject to subjective management. This does not apply to the economic models experimented on us for several decades. As with any revolution this has to be carried through as well. If we turn to capitalism, then we turn. Why could we not be one of the fastest on this road in this part of the world?
STABILITY APPEALS TO THE STRONG AND THE JUST
Each revolution has a strategy and tactics.
One of our focal strategic objectives was the intro-
duction of our own national currency. And we accomplished it.
The main idea was to ensure its credibility from the very first days. It had to withstand comparison with other currencies. For that reason we created the kroon as we have it now: convertible and pegged to the Deutschemark at the fixed rate of 8:1.
The aim was that both ordinary citizens and businessmen waking up in the morning would know that on that particular day eight Estonian kroons are equal to one Deutschemark. And tomorrow and the day after tomorrow.
It is extremely important. It is the cornerstone on which to build up the system of our economic relations.
A few words about devaluation and revaluation which were often discussed last year and will most probably be touched upon next year as well.
Both have one and the same shortcoming - lack of a scale. In both cases we would undermine the secure foothold and the set course which guide Estonian businesspeople and ordinary citizens. If only for this reason, devaluation and revaluation are equally ineffective.
Just for your comparison. If you sell fabric, you measure it with a wooden rule, the one you have always used and which is of fixed length. Should your measuring rule be one day shorter than the next day, how would you measure fabric then? It would probably entail undescribable complications.
The kroon's fixed rate against the Deutschemark is, so to say, a measuring meter for the economy. However, inside local financial circles it has been deemed possible that the meter could be one day shorter, the other day longer.
Much has been said about devaluation, its adverse impact, practical improbability and total dispensability in view of the current economic situation in Estonia. Hereby, a brief reiteration.
Those in favour of devaluation want to further impoverish the people of Estonia. They use as a guise the increased rate of competitiveness on foreign markets as the result of artificial reduction of production costs following the kroon's devaluation. I argue that these enterprises which are exporting their products now will do it anyway. Those which have no export now, will not opt for it even if their production costs will fall through devaluation.
From the technical aspect, revaluation is possible. But at the moment we are not sure that it would be a sensible move. If we revaluate the kroon as suggested, that is several times, we'll have to bear in mind that it will be necessary to find reserves to back up the cash in circulation.
If we revaluate the kroon in the way that one Deutschemark is equal to 7.5 Estonian kroons, and not
8, it will entail the spending of additional 200 million kroons for reserves. Where to find the required amount? From the forebears' gold again, from Eesti Pank's reserves which should guarantee the kroon and the monetary system, or from taxpayers' pockets? And what should we do with the surplus money? Shall we distribute it out in small proportional portions? If we are unable to provide 100% backing of the newly emitted cash, there is no sense in discussing the issue at all.
I guess that those who suggest revaluation of the kroon 4 or even 8 times, do not know the subject matter or do not fully understand its implications. At the same time I am pleased that people are concerned about the kroon and the future of Estonian economy. For a drastic revaluation we'll need a lot of money which we simply do not possess. Such a move would mean unbacked money. A lot of unbacked money. It would destroy the convertibility regime and push us back to the rouble regime under the kroon's name.
Moreover, it would increase the manufacturing costs 4 or 8 times, thus rendering Estonian products completely unable to compete on foreign markets. It would also affect the industries which are already on foreign markets - it would make it difficult for them to compete there.
I'd like to stress again that stability, currency exchange rate stability included, is one of the most important prerequisites for confidence-building in the world of money. When we passed the currency law, I was asked whether convertibility was the only existing value in economy? Certainly not, but it is a sound one, at least. If it does not exist, other values might not evolve.
MONEY AND DEMOCRACY
Apparently, we'll have to think how to enhance the economic efficiency of society at large. Estonia will not advance if we limit the discussion to labour productivity in industry and export sectors. Society has to be transformed into a democratic and economically rational system. This requires a lot of work. In this respect our objectives could be consistent with the development of political democracy in its monetary form. We are creating a civil democracy. Citizens safeguard, citizens decide, citizens elect. This should be our objective - or is it a reality already?
The same philosophy should be applied.when dealing with citizens' money matters. Let citizens solve their financial problems themselves as much as possible. Let them do it themselves and not through proxies or authorized officials. Only then would we be able to build a citizen-oriented economy in which people enjoy maximum freedom. It means that each
and every citizen will be the master of his/her money. Earn it. Decide where, if and how to spend it.
Two main principles serving as guidelines when building society of the type are: first - minimum restrictions on earning money; second - forcible deductions from a personal income limited to the minimum, implying that compulsory taxes should be kept as low as possible.
A small group of citizens may become dangerous to their fellow-citizens. That necessitates police and courts. For their upkeep taxes should be collected. Of course, there'll never come the time when we do not have to pay taxes at all.
Talking about the Estonian kroon and its stability, we are forthwith interested in diminishing the budget. The smaller the budget, the lower the deficit risk. The less expenditure in the budget which cannot be accounted for as expedient and unavoidable from the aspect of governing the state, the better; that leaves more money for citizens to use at their own discretion and a free choice.
It does not mean that we should initiate a vigorous and imprudent cutting of budgetary expenditure as of tomorrow. However, it could be a starting point for the future economic policy guidelines.
Besides, we have the makings for this trend. At present our social order is not according to the model of a society of economically independent citizens -therefore we need not fear huge budget deficits. Still, the clearly motivated attitude of Estonian politicians and the government towards the issue and resulting legislation has up to now been a substantial and sufficient guarantee for a balanced budget policy. Hence, we have to finalize the current concepts systematically in our future legislation.
I mentioned that it is necessary to enhance the efficiency of society. And I'd like to underline that the fate of Estonia's economy, the budget and the kroon is in the hands of entrepreneurial people and success of productive industries. Successful production is the key to sustained development, therefore, our fiscal policy should favour producers in every possible way. Accordingly, we must choose proper budgetary revenue generation methods. I favour a proportional taxation system for all types of income. Today we still stick to the idea that those who have more, have achieved more, have to give away more. Why should it be so? Why is it deemed to be self-evident? Naturally, the more successful among us should not have to relinquish a relatively smaller proportion of their profits for the state needs than others, but also not a bigger proportion - it should be equally proportional.
A stable currency and balanced budget are assets which, if available, should be used advantageously for our own benefit, for the common weal.
We have to take a firm and clear stand on which type of financial relations we prefer. We must choose a movement route for our fiscal policy.
We fully comprehend that if we, in principle, adopt the right-hand traffic scheme, we cannot preserve left-hand traffic on some of the streets. Once we have acknowledged that the red traffic light is a signal for stopping, it would be absurd to demand that at some junctions the green traffic light is a stop signal.
Analyzing proposed resolutions concerning economic and financial issues, such a mixed combination seems to be possible and even rational. In reality it is not so, and we have to decide which of the arrangements - right-hand or left-hand - we prefer for setting up our monetary relations.
I would act as a fashion designer-what cannot be disguised, should be revealed. There is no denying that certain clearly perceptible monetary relations have become apparent in our society. Our attitude towards the current rules in financial relations is also obvious. There is no sense, need or chance to conceal and deny it or feel false shame. It would be more appropriate to apply a new philosophy in line with social trends. I have some ideas on this issue.
The mainpoint could be that everybody in Estonian society would be master of his/her earned income. It means that he/she would be obliged to give away only the smallest possible portion of his/her earnings at some one else's discretion.
Since the national budget is a significant lever in guaranteeing the kroon's stability, it should also be under Eesti Pank's intense surveillance. It is of vital importance. This is why the following line of reasoning is vital.
Suppose that under the current system we receive 1000 kroons a month in salary. If we paid no income tax, we'd have about 25% more. If our employer did not pay social and medical insurance taxes, another 40% extra. And if the company for which we work did not pay corporate income taxes, an additional 10%. And if we did not pay turnover taxes, roughly 10% more. It shows that if we did not pay any of the compulsory state taxes, we would get twice as much money.
I am not trying to say that it is possible or let alone necessary to achieve such a situation. Any individual or businessman realizes that the state has unavoidable expenses related to law enforcement and judicial systems, national security and state defence. Not to mention the upkeep of state institutions. Everybody is willing to pay if they all these function properly.
I therefore propose that corporate income tax be
waived. In any case, it is difficult to collect this money from entrepreneurs. So it would be better to invest it and thus promote industries which are essential to our economy.
Let us return to the main subject. So why, after all the necessary public expenses are covered, should the surplus money be channelled through the state machinery? So that we would have decrees which would compel us to give it up? In orderto provide the required instruments and an army of officials who are called upon to redistribute the dispossessed moneys amongst us all? I see no need or reasonable justification for it.
Another thing which I'd like to suggest as a cornerstone for our future economic policy is the following: the more daily sale and purchase transactions we conduct, the more money there will be for spending and obtaining benefits by means of free sales and purchase deals, the more democratic the society will be. We should liberate our income as much as possible from the compulsory redistribution pattern and spend the money primarily on sale and purchase. We should have as wide and free choice as possible in using our money. I declare that sale and purchase transactions form the basis of democracy in economy. I either have jB free choice to make the transaction or not. But, certainly, even then circumstantial obligations will remain. The need to buy food. Also the need to pay for lodging. But I'll be free to decide whether I can afford to pay for a bigger or smaller dwelling. It is not an automatic choice.
I contend that a society with a broad sale and purchase transaction base, with a greater number of decisions made voluntarily on the basis of these transactions, will be healthier and more secure from conflict than the society ruled mainly by profit redistribution mechanisms.
MONOPOLIES - CHAINS OF FREEDOM
To be free in these transactions, we must be able to freely negotiate prices. It means that no other factor but the contract between the buyer and the seller can determine the price. We have almost done away with arbitrarily prescribed prices and this tendency continues.
Purchase and sale transactions cannot be free if they are regulated by monopolies and there is no free choice of goods and services. Some goods and services are so strongly tied to certain localities that it is simply impossible to develop internal competition. However, have we done everything possible? We still have many monopolistic structures which pose a direct threat to
prices and inflation. We still face the risk of new emerging monopolistic structures.
"Eesti Energia" represents one of such monopolies and recently we have had constant debates on whether electricity prices should be increased. In other countries there are several power companies. Why not here? It is obviously possible to de-monopolize energy production.
Why do we need one monopolistic oil shale production enterprise which is constantly raising the issue of oil shale prices, contrary to the interests of electric power producers, and which fights against the utilization of cheap oil shale for power generation? For some reason, it is simply deemed to be normal, and impossible to alter. I do not understand why mines could not exist independently.
Estimations by our experts show that the planned increase of oil shale and electricity prices to the extent most often proposed will result in monthly 3.5%-5% price increase in the economy. This points to a quite dangerous acceleration in price increase. Allow me to remind you that the average price index for the previous 6 months was 2.5%. It will bring about revenue redistribution, which is untypical to a market economy, in favour of these sectors which are allegedly in a poorer situation. It is supposed that thus we will ensure the functioning and management of these sectors, and save them from ruin. Will we? Sooner or later the price increase cycle will hit the monopolies as well.
Telephone communications are a more complicated issue. It is a worldwide problem. But Americans managed a breakthrough in the Pan-American monopolistic network.
From time to time the press informs about the establishment of various internal associations. Oil, dairy associations etc. I do not question the noble intentions of their founders. Maybe it is really necessary to coordinate cooperation. However, such notices always make me apprehensive. Will it not lead to price regulation and monopolistic control of the markets? It is an acknowledged truth that if merchants of the same profile and market unite, there is a risk of a cartel being created. Here we'll have to counteract it with a firm and solid public front.
ESTONIA'S COMMON MARKET NEEDS TO BE DEVELOPED
It has been discussed how to protect the domestic market but it has not yet been mentioned that an integral domestic market needs to be developed. Too many goods and services are still not included in the free commodity sales system: most of the educational
and public health services, almost entirely the fields of pensions and social insurances, and even more important - land and properties.
This adds direct pressure on inflation, and, consequently, on Estonia's future monetary policy. If all the above-mentioned goods and services were drawn into a uniform, free sale and purchase circulation, it would automatically force prices down.
I would like to mention an interesting example. Before the monetary reform, prices in the so-called hard currency shops were relatively high. I have noticed that, for example, in the Moscow hard currency stores some goods are more expensive than the same commodities in Finland or other capitalist countries with a common market and sale system. As soon as Estonia established the new fiscal regime which rendered hard currency stores pointless, prices in these former currency stores began to fall immediately. This points to the fact that the existence of several independent sales systems automatically exerts pressure on prices within each of the spheres, in the end still causing inflation. This process has now become evident in several neighbouring states.
In Estonia immovable property is still outside the general sale system. It exists apart from other spheres, it has a great variety of restrictions and limitations. Directly this situation influences property prices, indirectly the overall increase in the level of prices.
Therefore, for the sake of the economy and for keeping down inflation, it is extremely important to come to a political decision which would facilitate an extensive and rapid broadening of the sale and purchase transactions sphere by including land and properties in the circulation system, as is done in market economies.
The amount of forcible deductions from personal income could be reduced only by curtailing public expenditure. We spend a lot of money on public social needs. No doubt that these costs and their effective utilization should be constantly discussed and controlled. We should also consider how to expand paid educational and medical services and individual voluntary pension insurance. In other words, how and to what extent should these services be introduced to the Estonian market?
I am convinced, and have personally experienced, that the paid schooling system available in Estonia is much more efficient than the public school system. I have lectured both in private and public establishments. In the former, students' attitudes towards studies are very different from those in the latter. If at a traditional state university a lecture is cancelled, students will rejoice. At a private university students will immediately demand compensation.
It is absolutely clear that in paid private schools students achievements are more impressive.
Pensions take up the biggest share of public expenditure in Estonia. For this reason I cannot overlook this sensitive matter.
It seems that here we have a lot of misinterpretation. I'd like to outline some ideas which should help to deal with these delicate problems.
We have many pensioners and their situation is really difficult. Besides, they all are voters. To clarify this point, allow me to come forward with some heretical thoughts.
I often receive letters, some from very sensible writers, which say that the only fault of the monetary reform was that pensioners could not exchange their savings at a better rate than the rest of the population. We'll explain below why this claim is unjustified from the financial point of view. I do understand why this demand is heard now and again. Some people are eager to gain popularity among pensioners and amongst people who have yet to fully realize what has happened. And their arguments are based on threadbare, distorted ideas such as:
- firstly: if a person reaches retirement age, a certain age group, it is immediately presumed that he/ she has drudged conscientiously all life long. As if by magic, at a certain age loafers and wasters disappear. Those who continue to work are confronted with an insistent demand - the demand to compensate for the substandard, irrational or even undone work of the retired. The young generation is blamed for everything bad.
Let me ask you who passed the relay baton to the young?
-secondly: all pensioners are poor. All pensioners are not poor.
- thirdly: at the time of the reform all savings belonged to pensioners. At the time of the money reform all savings did not belong to pensioners.
One opinion stands out in many public opinion surveys and statements which I have read or heard recently on the occasion of the kroon's anniversary -namely, that in the course of the money reform, pensioners lost their savings, and that this now has to be remedied.
I share our people's concern for the dire circumstances of our senior citizens and admit that it is an acute problem. But I must also add that I do not support the philosophy and political views which are proposed for the solution of this problem.
If it is said that depositors were deprived of their savings during the monetary reform, let them point out where this money has been deposited since. Can we draw on it? Does anybody know the answer? I doubt it.
In 1991 we held heated and profound debates as to
whether to exchange deposited savings during the money reform or not. The balance of rouble savings on the accounts of the Savings Bank at the time of the reform was and is still controlled by the legal successor to the USSR State Bank in Moscow, and subject to intergovernmental negotiations.
If during the reform, we had not exchanged savings at all, it would have been financially the right move. Depositors would have remained holders of their rouble accounts they had long before the reform and the reform itself would have been exempt from accusations. We would simply not have dealt with these accounts. Meanwhile, depositors would have suffered losses due to an almost tenfold drop of the rouble's value.
Now Eesti Pank has undertaken to bear these losses -with the help of our forefathers' gold.
It is necessary to realize these obvious facts. I do understand why these facts are ignored. But let us realize and remember that just over 200 million kroons were distributed amongst account holders - thanks to our ancestors' gold which was returned to Estonia. To give out more money would have been altogether unjustified. And why should the depositors be entitled to more money?
- fourthly: the only way to improve the condition of pensioners is to increase the size of payments to them.
I dare to question this statement as well, but will return to it later.
The economic situation is grave. Our economy is making the first steps towards rehabilitation after a long period of decline. Our houses leak and suffer heat loss, streets have potholes. We can name a thousand faults in our everyday existence. We all know about them.
If we talk about support to the poor, then let's give them assistance and not indulge in demagogy.
First, let's define the poor. Often in my speeches I have said that it is wrong to believe that an automatic increase of pensioners' income by some hundred kroons, or any amount at all, will unconditionally improve their situation. We should help those who really need it. It is not relief to the poor if we are constantly asked to provide huge amounts of money which eventually will be distributed in small sums among a great number of people. It will more likely keep society under constant pressure - it will deliver a blow to it.
I think it is now appropriate to familiarize you with some history. I have a book which was published in the 1920s during the Soviet times. It describes plainly the ideology of how to split up families and to liquidate family ties. Special apartment houses were designed for the purpose, some were even constructed.
These houses had bedrooms for two, rooms for
mothers and children, common dining areas, rooms for single people and, finally, rooms for elderly. Just like a technological assembly line. One division produced babies, another brought them up, the third took care of the elderly. Families were disassembled like parts of a technological process. Family members were separated, family functions were ascribed to the community, and this system was represented by various supervisors.
Everything else in this scheme failed except the last part - pensioners were separated from their families. And this attitude is still strongly and vividly present in our social behaviour. As if pensioners never had children. And as if children have never had parents. But families stay together and it is the duty of the younger generation to care for the older generation.
We have been cultivating the idea that pensioners should seek support from the state in order to improve their conditions. The state has been, is and will be the state. Yesterday, today, tomorrow and the day after. If we continue to live with the notion that parents have nothing to do with their children and the latter with their parents, we will be acting against ourselves. In reality, we have been working against our better interests for some time now. Unfortunately, we have not taught proper attitudes to the next generation.
I firmly believe that in order to improve the efficiency of social welfare, it is necessary to pool incomes within a family and view them in interaction - give tax concessions to those who have joint households, and in
this way establish whether the young actually take care of the old or whether they count on some abstract state support. The old need not so much money as actual help. And who else should help them if not their family. Financially speaking, in civil states, the family should be the core.
Only within the family circle, the generation which has retired will benefit from the wealth it has invested in bringing up the new generation of able workers.
In conclusion I'd like to emphasize one of my previous statements - that our future depends on the progress of entrepreneurs hip. Successful business is the basis for a successful fiscal policy, for a successful banking policy and for the nation's prosperity. Therefore, the ideas stated here today on budgetary policies, promotion of entrepreneurs, potential to augment efficiency of public expenses are directly connected with the future of the kroon and our economic policy. It will be successful if we continue on the current path. Economy is not static. Anything static is liable to lag behind while others overtake. I sincerely hope that next year we'll also be able to comment on new positive changes in the Estonian economy and society, and that these current positive trends will prevail.
Ajoker once said that the economy is like a bicycle which stands upright only when it is moving quickly. Therefore we must continually provide it with acceleration - through our fiscal and budgetary policies.
Thank you for your attention.