Norway to spend $2bn a month on costs of firms hit by lockdown

Norway to spend $2bn a month on costs of firms hit by lockdown
Finance Minister Jan Tore Sanner announced the measures at a press conference on Friday. Photo: Conservative Party
Norway's government has announced plans to spend up to 20bn Norwegian kroner a month ($2bn) cover the fixed costs of businesses whose revenues have plummeted as a result of the coronavirus lockdown.
In a press release issued on Friday, the country's finance minister, Jan Tore Sanner said that the scheme would come into force quickly and would last only so long as the lockdown was in place. 
“There are thousands of Norwegian companies which now experience their incomes falling abruptly, but which still have rent, insurance and other expenses that do not disappear even if they reduce operations and send employees home,” he said.
“When the state covers part of these costs, we increase the chance that these companies stay afloat and can more quickly contribute to creating value and jobs when the crisis is over.” 
The measure, which is similar to one announced in Denmark on Wednesday last week, is being designed together with banking industry group Finance Norway, the Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise, and the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions.  
Finance Norway plans to build a central digital portal through which the funds can be disbursed. 
The press release said further details would be announced within a week, with the solution “operational as soon as possible”. 
“The interim scheme must be targeted and take effect quickly,” said business minister Iselin Nybø. “The government, in dialogue with the business organizations and the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions, will prepare the specific framework for the scheme in a short time.” 

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