Friendly advice from the bank

The Norwegian Central Bank's governor and executive committee have offered two pieces of advice to the Labour government: 1) take steps to boost the size of the national work force, and 2) drop a proposed new tax on stock dividends.

The bank officials said a larger work force would help stem inflationary pressure. That view is shared by Norway's largest employers, who have called for a relaxation of immigration laws to lure qualified workers into the country. The proposed new tax on dividends, the bank said, could lead to a decline in domestic capital available to Norwegian companies and "increase the risk of financial stability." The advice was contained in the central bank's annual "letter" to the Ministry of Finance in connection with the proposed state budget for 2001.