21.02.2008 - The State Budget Control Select Committee regards the changes launched in RMK as grounded 10.10

At today’s session of the State Budget Control Select Committee, the report “Planning of Cuttings at the State Forest Management Centre” by the National Audit Office was discussed for the second time, wrote BNS.

Aigar Kallas, Chairman of Management Board of the State Forest Management Centre (RMK), introduced the cutting monitoring system that has been applied and that helps to avoid the possibility of excessive cutting in the future. Kallas also gave an overview of the new management scheme of RMK, the implementation of which brings clarity into what is going on in the state forest and eliminates the conflict of interests between raising the forest’s value and obtaining immediate income.

The committee stated that the issues pointed out by the National Audit Office and the Ministry of the Environment are serious. “The state forest is the asset of the Estonian people, and it must be grown honestly and transparently. We recognise the management of RMK for the changes that have been made and hope that things will be alright at RMK,” said Toomas Varek.

The National Audit Office has reproached RMK for not keeping a correct accounting of state forest cuttings and for the conflict of interests in the activities of RMK between the long-term planning of forest growth and everyday economic activities. The Ministry of the Environment has also pointed out significant breaches and risks that damage the reliability of state forest management. For example, in 2007, RMK felled 108 ha (11%) more spruce stands than allowed by the Government of the Republic. There was no will to operatively monitor the cuttings, which would have avoided such a situation. Today’s session was attended by the representatives of the State Audit Office, the Ministry of the Environment and RMK.

Additional information:
Toomas Varek
Chairman of the State Budget Control Select Committee
GSM +372 517 7566

Ülo Mattheus
Press Service of the Riigikogu