History of the Ministry of Finance

The Ministry of Finance of the Estonian Republic was established on February 24, 1918, and was headed by Mr. Juhan Kukk as minister. But it was only at the end of 1918, after the German Army had departed from Estonia, that the ministry could start working.

Old building of the Ministry of Finance
(Photo: State Archives)
The Estonian Provisional Government was faced with several difficulties when establishing the republic's executive machinery. Initially, it was not quite clear how the executive functions of state should be organised.

Neither was it easy for the heads of the ministries to find officials with adequate training and practical experience in managing and running government units or agencies.

Originally, the Ministry of Finance of Estonia consisted of the office of the ministry and 4 structural units: the Treasury, the Head Office of Direct Taxation, the Excise Tax Head Office, and the Customs Head Office. The Central Committee of Income Taxes, the Central Committee of Direct Taxes and later the Committee of Special Real Estate Affairs and the Customs Committee operated within the ministry.

The structure of government units and agencies changed in 1929, when the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Commerce and Industry were merged, and became the Ministry of Economics. The functions of the new ministry included monetary and credit policy implementation, the management of public sector resources, as well as the coordination and supervision of commerce, industry, insurance and shipping.

In the summer of 1940 Estonia was occupied by the Soviet Union and the former Ministry of Economics was "reorganized" into the People's Commissariat of Finance of the Estonian SSR. In 1946 it was renamed the Ministry of Finance of the Estonian SSR.

In 1990, when independence was reinstated in Estonia the ministry once again became the Ministry of Finance of the Estonian Republic.

The latest major changes took place in January, 1993, when the Government reorganized the former Ministry of Economics and the Ministry of Finance into the Ministry of Finance.

Source: Enn Nõu