Speech/statement | Date: 13/03/2020 | Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries
By Minister of Trade and Industry Iselin Nybø (Ms Nybø was in quarantine when the press conference was held on 13 March and could therefore not be present.)
The steps the Government has taken to prevent the spread of the coronavirus are having huge consequences for the business sector, and we know that many people are worried about their jobs. The Government and the Minister of Trade and Industry are taking this very seriously. Securing Norwegian jobs and businesses is – and will continue to be – a priority for the Government and the Minister of Trade and Industry in the time ahead.
The coronavirus outbreak and the measures that have been introduced to limit the spread of infection are having a severe impact on the Norwegian business sector. Several companies have already reported that they have had to close down or scale down their operations and have had to lay off staff temporarily. Some have been required to close or scale down their operations, while others have experienced reduced demand.
This is creating challenges, and companies may face liquidity and payment problems. Targeted measures to rapidly reduce companies’ costs and improve their liquidity are those that are most needed now.
The Government is therefore presenting proposals for urgent measures to reduce the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the Norwegian economy. In addition, the banks’ capital requirements have been reduced, the key interest rate has been lowered, and banks will be provided with extra liquidity. We are implementing these measures to alleviate the situation for Norwegian businesses and to secure Norwegian jobs.
The measures will help companies that are experiencing liquidity problems, in all sectors.
We are following developments in all sectors of the economy. We are in close dialogue with the companies that are affected and are listening to their input. The Government and the Minister of Trade and Industry are working on even more measures to reduce the pressure on businesses and improve companies’ liquidity in the short term. For example, we are considering the possibility of allowing companies to delay payment of employers’ national insurance contributions or of advance tax.