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,