Norwegian Shipowners’ Association Discusses National Budget

Wednesday, October 08, 2003
The Norwegian Shipowners' Association had high hopes of maintaining status quo while the White Paper on shipping policy was still pending. These hopes were not met in the Government's proposal for a National Budget, put forward today. The net-wage scheme for ferries is to continue, but cuts are proposed for offshore vesssels. -There are no proposals affecting the tax regime for shipowning companies or owners in the National Budget. Norway is still out of sync with the rest of Europe, and the maritime industry in Norway has growing expectations for this to be righted in the forthcoming White Paper, says Marianne Lie, Director General of The Norwegian Shipowners' Association. The Government announced a full evaluation of the tax system this fall. It is of utmost importance that the Government puts forward proposals for strengthening privately owned industry and commerce. - To remove the net wealth tax would be the best targeted initiative for creating new employment in Norway, and this should be done as soon as possible, says Marianne Lie. - The Norwegian Shipowners' Association calls on the Parliament to hold on to the agreement that was reached for the seafarers three months ago. It is clearly a need to determine a long-term policy for seafarers in connection with the ongoing development of a White Paper on shipping policy, which is due in the spring 2004, says Lie. In relation to economic support for using Norwegian seafarers, we were hoping the Government would continue supporting this in the Budget. However, the Government proposes to abolish the net wage system for seafarers on shuttle tankers and offshore vessels that was introduced on 1 July 2003, and instead introduce a 19 percent refund scheme. In reality, this means the Government is proposing to cut the existing arrangement by 50 percent. The Government also proposes to increase the allocations to industry oriented maritime research by 10 percent, and this we appreciate very much, says Lie.

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