The head of the Chamber of Commerce: Estonia needs to redefine its competitive advantages

In the current difficult geopolitical situation, Estonia needs to think again about its competitive advantages and redefine them in several aspects, Toomas Luman, the chairman of the Estonian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said in his speech at the chamber’s traditional season opener meeting on 26 August.

“When it comes to whatever decisions concerning the economy, taxes, but also education and other areas, it should be mandatory for us to ask how they will help us become more successful in international competition. Only when business develops will people’s incomes grow, jobs will be created and tax revenue will increase,” Luman said, urging politicians and officials to work with entrepreneurs to look for new ways to liven up the economy, find and increase our competitive advantages.

Toomas Luman. Photo by Erlend Štaub.

“Business organisations have understood quite well the changed situation, which requires higher expenditures to ensure the security of the Estonian state. Thus, the overall increase in the VAT rate, or the increase in the income tax rate, did not cause much opposition.”

“However, the purpose of the motor vehicle tax that is being planned seems to be changing over time. At first, it was the environment, then the budget, and finally everything mixed up. If the justification for the tax is that we are one of the few countries left where there is no such tax, then something is very wrong,” Luman said.

No sign of any relief for the science teacher shortage

According to Luman, Estonia has been among the leaders globally in terms of the efficiency of tax collection, and this should be kept as it is. It is necessary to stick to those taxes that the country has, and to which one is accustomed to in terms of paying and collecting.

Two girls sitting on car roof in Estonia. In many places of the Estonian countryside, the car is the preeminent mode of getting around, since the public transport is either non-existent or infrequent. Photo by Renee Altrov.

Since the meeting marking the start of the business season took place at Tallinn University of Technology, the head of the Estonian Chamber of Commerce and Industry also talked about education.

“The development of the state, society and entrepreneurship requires smart and enterprising people. The university has a very big role to play in this, and I dare say that a lot of good work has been done in the domain of research in recent years,” Luman said.

He pointed out, however, that in the last 10 years, only 13 young people have been trained as physics teachers at the two universities where such training is provided, and there is still no sign of any relief for the shortage of science teachers at the secondary school level, nor seems there to be much political will to change the situation.

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