Minister Haatainen: Objectives of security of supply to be updated based on coronavirus crisis
The analysis by the National Emergency Supply Council on the impacts of the coronavirus crisis on security of supply and development needs has been completed. The report proposes updating the objectives of security of supply, clarifying the role of the National Emergency Supply Agency and developing cooperation between the public and private sectors.
“The analysis highlights relevant issues and its proposals provide a good foundation for developing security of supply and preparedness. Based on the experiences in the spring, we need to consider how to make our security of supply system more effective so that it can react to unforeseen crises in the future,” said Minister of Employment Tuula Haatainen on receiving the report on 19 November 2020.
Referring to the proposals in the report, Minister Haatainen said that the objectives for security of supply, which were agreed on in 2018, would be updated to better meet the challenges of the new operating environment.
“We will ask the other ministries to review the Council’s analysis and propose other possible updates to meet the aims of security of supply,” Haatainen said.
“The Council will play an important role in the preparation of the actual decision on objectives. The updated draft decision will be widely circulated for comments before its final adoption by the Government,” Haatainen adds.
Domestic production of personal protective equipment must continue after the crisis too
The National Emergency Supply Agency has actively procured and stored protective equipment during the coronavirus crisis, and its expertise should continue to be fully utilised. In the spring, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment launched a project to promote the domestic production of protective materials needed in healthcare. There are several manufacturers of high-quality personal protective equipment in Finland now.
“Domestic production of protective equipment will remain important even after the coronavirus crisis when demand for products returns to pre-crisis levels. We must take steps to ensure we will never again be in a situation where we have to start domestic production from scratch. From the security of supply perspective, this is an issue to which we must find a permanent and sustainable solution. We must support the viability of Finnish manufacturers by promoting the opportunity for them to export their goods, for example,” Haatainen proposes.
Ministry to commission an assessment of National Emergency Supply Agency
Minister Haatainen also highlights the role of the National Emergency Supply Agency during crises. Is it an active operator or a preparedness organisation? During the coronavirus crisis, it has been a little bit of both.
“The operating environment for security of supply has changed significantly as a result of the coronavirus crisis. The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment will therefore, as part of the assessment of security of supply, also commission an evaluation of the Agency’s activities,” says Haatainen.
The evaluation will be conducted by a consortium led by the University of Vaasa. The report is scheduled to be completed in March-April 2021. A steering group involving the ministries relevant for security of supply will support the preparation of the report. The aim is that the evaluation will support the development of the Agency, complementing its own strategy and the analysis by the Council for Security of Supply and Infrastructure published today.
“The analysis also highlights the foundation of Finland’s unique security of supply system, that is, the cooperation between the public and private sectors. Without the contribution from businesses our security of supply system would be missing one of its pillars,” says Haatainen.
“This cooperation must be further strengthened. The coronavirus crisis has demonstrated the commitment of Finnish businesses to maintaining security of supply, for example, by offering their international contacts to the authorities. It also would not have been possible to start domestic production quickly without the support of businesses and the brave entrepreneurs who dared to take action,” she adds.
Timo Nevaranta, Special Adviser to the Minister of Employment, tel. +358 50 340 9483
Antti Neimala, Director General, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 29 504 7039