Even with expansion of production, what often becomes decisive is whether we have workers on offer, not whether we have this one IT-specialist they need. Naturally, when we say that when we bring one highly paid person, he will create work in other walks of life as well; but it is difficult here to tell which comes first. Rather, both need an input.
-But at the moment they have sent this clear message to all industries that move to Ida-Viru County and you’ll have workers more that you can take.
This is Estonia’s problem, that we have geographical shortage of work and labour. But Ida-Virumaa is almost the only region where labour force is still available.
Definitely, infrastructure would help making the labour market more flexible. If it were possible to get to Harju County from Rakvere, Jõhvi, Haapsalu or Pärnu faster by half an hour, perhaps people would opt to live someplace farther away and work where jobs are available. But I do not believe that investors can be forced to invest in certain regions – each investment has dozens of arguments why they are made, and labour force is but one of them.
-Is the Ida-Virumaa situation a large problem for Estonia right now?
On the one hand, the best security guarantee for Estonia is economic wellbeing. This will not mean that we might as well forget other security measures, but this is the best. In that sense, the state should definitely do all for the people who live here to want to be here and that for then it be economically reasonable.
Partly, the current situation in Ida-Virumaa is still sector-based and that because globally the oil sector is having problems due to low oil prices. Probably, it is several unhappy circumstances coinciding.
-Is the Estonia tax system as good as claimed by the politicians, or as bad as cursed by the troubled entrepreneurs?
Firstly, a single tax cannot be torn out of the entire tax package, and the tax topic cannot be torn out of the state development context. Essentially, taxes serve two goals: one is motivating development, and the other is redistribution. I feel like motivation is rather well ensured by the current tax system. We may say that the social tax is a bit high, but plus/minus one percent will not alter much.
But let us not be deceived by redistribution – this will not take us further, and will not make Estonia any wealthier. What makes it wealthier is we provide the vision with content, and get more labour force. Thereby, we could solve the problem that our pension system is without future coverage. That would not be solved by the tax system changed. The problem simply being, at some point we won’t have enough taxpayers.
Graduated from Tallinn Polytechnic Institute construction faculty in 1984.
Founder and chairman of AS Oma Ehitaja.
Board member at Estonian Association of Construction Entrepreneurs.