Minister of Foreign Trade and IT Raul Siem has formed a crisis measures work group, the goal of which is to prepare for a possible second wave of the novel coronavirus, mitigate its effects on Estonian businesses, analyse the efficiency of economic measures for entrepreneurs and adapt current and future crisis measures to market failures.
While the first major wave of the coronavirus may be over, negative economic effects on businesses caused by the crisis are continuing and may be exacerbated by a possible next wave, Siem said.
"While we're hoping there won't be a new outbreak of the coronavirus, we need to be as well prepared for it as possible to minimize the impact of the crisis on our businesses and economy as a whole, prevent waves of bankruptcies as well as preserve jobs," he said.
"At meetings of the work group, we will review crisis measures introduced thus far and their terms, and we'll eliminate possible bottlenecks, where needed, in order to ensure that financial instruments reach businesses in need of assistance more rapidly and better match their needs and characteristics," the minister explained.
According to Siem, the aid measures currently in the pipeline aim to alleviate or prevent businesses' liquidity problems; however, the development of support measures increasingly needs to take into account the long-term perspective.
"With regard to first-wave measures, the priority was to roll them out as quickly as possible to support businesses that were in urgent need of assistance during the health crisis already," he explained. "What we need to come up with now are options for increasing businesses' capability to withstand such market shocks while also taking into consideration the longer-term perspective regarding businesses' investment needs and supporting new business opportunities."
Feedback from businesses has been indispensable for designing aid measures, the minister said, "Which is why we will continue active communication with professional associations as well as sector representatives to ensure that future measures will also match businesses' needs and provide mitigation to the greatest possible extent."
The new work group will be led by Viljar Lubi, the ministry's deputy secretary general for economic development.