Finance Minister has open mind

The opposition parties have praised Finance Minister Karl Eirik Schjøtt-Pedersen for seeking the advice of non-governmental experts on how best to use Norway’s immense oil revenues. The finance minister’s invitation to 24 leading economists was seen as a response to fierce criticism last fall, when some of the economists said he should dip more deeply into the country’s oil revenues to finance improvements to the Norwegian health system and other social programs. According to Handelsbanken’s chief economist, Knut Anton Mork, Norway could afford to dole out USD 1.1 billion (NOK 10 billion) in tax cuts each year while boosting health spending by USD 555 million (NOK 5 billion).