Auditor General Alar Karis: Positive macroeconomic indicators conceal the chronic problems of Estonian economy

Toomas Mattson | 11/23/2015 | 1:00 PM

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TALLINN, 23 November 2015 – Auditor General Alar Karis presented the annual report of the National Audit Office, which in this instance focuses on the labour market, where real values are created and which is directly influenced by the number of people who work, to President of the Riigikogu Eiki Nestor at noon today.

In the overview, the Auditor General admits that based on the data for 2014, the real GDP of Estonia came very close to the peak of the boom years. “The economy will continue growing in 2015, even if the pace of it is slowing down,” says Karis. “The real income of people has increased, and the almost non-existent price increase has played a role in this. The majority of those who want to work have managed to find jobs. Why shouldn’t we just be satisfied with this and stop making an effort?” he asks.

The Auditor General answers his own question in the overview: the main reason why we cannot be satisfied is that positive macroeconomic indicators have concealed the chronic problems of the Estonian economy, but they have definitely not disappeared. “The knot of problems has been tightened, not loosened,” said Karis. “One of the key issues is related to the functionality and productivity of the labour market in the conditions where the population is decreasing. The problems of the Estonian labour market are complicated and there is no miracle solution.”

The following is also stated in the overview: “The National Audit Office keeps seeing situations where the on-off activities or projects of state agencies have more or less achieved the expected results, but the overall problem has not been resolved. This is also known as the ‘silo problem’, i.e. each agency only focuses on its own field, which seriously curbs the efficiency of governance. The Government has promised to make big changes in this area by breaking the wall between different agencies and thereby making governance more efficient. However, not much has been done yet.”

The Auditor General has written in the foreword to the overview that either due to complexity or lack of time, the manner in which information is handled, e.g. when the Government makes its decisions, is still not satisfactory. This does not just concern the way information about activities is presented to the general public, but also how information is processed and used in decision-making. The National Audit Office is seeing too much rushing and superficiality, sometimes even sloppiness. This applies to the reports submitted to the Government, the considerations and calculations for new initiatives, and so on.

In addition to the main topic of the labour market, the National Audit Office has also presented its observations about state accountancy, reporting and finance as usual.

Toomas Mattson

Head of Communication Service, National Audit Office
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  • Posted: 11/23/2015 1:00 PM
  • Last Update: 11/24/2015 9:39 AM
  • Last Review: 11/24/2015 9:39 AM

Auditor General presents annual report to Riigikogu

National Audit Office

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