Tale/innlegg | Dato: 21.09.2011
Statssekretær Roger Schjerva holdt i dag innledning på et seminar i regi av Publish What You Pay på Litteraturhuset i Oslo. Der fortalte han at Regjeringen skal sende et forslag om å innføre land-for-land-rapportering i Norge på høring.
Statssekretær Roger Schjerva holdt i dag innledning på et seminar i regi av Publish What You Pay på Litteraturhuset i Oslo. Der ble rapporten "Piping Profits" lansert, en rapport om bruk av underselskaper i utvinningsindustrien og deres bruk av skatteparadis.
Ladies and gentlemen,
We are here today to hear about, and to discuss, the latest report provided by Publish What You Pay (PWYP),”Piping Profits”. With this report, PWYP has highlighted the very reason behind their commitment to work towards greater transparency in the extractive industry. The report reveals how multinational corporations are organised through complex structures, and established in many secrecy jurisdictions around the world.
Their commitment goes hand in hand with the efforts of the Norwegian government to increase transparency with regard to money flows. From the perspective of the developing countries, the civil society needs measures which could more effectively hold governments accountable in order to make sure that the entire popoulation will profit from revenues gained from national natural resources. Transparency with regard to money flows could also have impact as an anti-corruption measure and could help tackle tax avoidance, which of course is in the very interest of the national authorities.
As you are aware, the need to increase transparency in multinational companies in general, and in the extractive industries in particular, is currently being discussed in many different organisations and states. Norwegian authorities have by several occasions expressed its support to such measures. This is why Norway as the first OECD country implemented the EITI standards. Further, the Norwegian tax authorities have already concluded tax treaties with many countries often labelled as tax havens or secrecy jurisdictions. Consequently, the tax authorities have often gained more information on companies established in such jurisdictions, than what is publicly known.
The meeting today, and the report, focus on how the industry is organised through extensive use of subsidiaries and establishment in secrecy jurisdictions. I am looking forward to hear Mr. Nick Mathiason giving a presentation of the report and to take part in the following discussions.
The question to be asked then is how we can work for greater transparency in these global corporations. Is country by country reporting requirements the right mean to achieve our common goals? I believe so, and that is why I by several occations have expressed our support to introducing such requirements.
PWYP has previously produced two reports on what should be the content of future Norwegian CBCR requirements as well as proposals on how to implement CBCR requirements into Norwegian legislation. One of the main conclusions in one of the reports is that the US Dodd-Frank Act represents a ”lowest common denominator for the disclosures needed”. PWYP suggests that Norway should incorporate extended reporting requirements. The Ministry has asked the Financial Services Authority and the Directorate of Taxes to consider and to comment the PWYP reports. In its response to the Ministry, the Financial Services Authority has concluded that an implementation of the CBCR requirements as suggested by PWYP should be subject to a cost/benefit analysis. Implementing such requirements on an individual basis would lead to increased costs for Norwegian companies.
If such reporting requirements are on an international or an europian level it would be easier to ensure a level playing field. Further, international or European rules is a precondition for effective implementation. Therefore, we favour common EU rules in this area, and it is clear that an EU initiative would have a significant impact on Norway. Therefore, I am looking forward to hearing Mr Nunes´ update today on the EU Commission´ s work on CBC reporting, which I understand will result in a Commission proposal for legislative amendments, in October this year.
As the debate reflects, government authorities, NGOs and other stakeholders have different views on what should be the detailed content of CBCR requirements. Accordingly, the implementation of CBCR requirements will have to be considered carefully. It must be taken into consideration that many issues will have to be clarified. Consequently, at this stage it is too early for the Norwegian government to conclude as to what should be the content of the future CBCR in Norway.
But, today, I can tell you, that we are ready to take a new step forward. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will send a proposal on a possible CBCR-requirement in Norway out on public hearing. In light of the letters from the Norwegian Tax Authorities, the Financial Service Authority and the reports from PWYP we will ask stakeholders in Norway to give us valuable input on the proposal from the EU Commission. In this way, we follow up the Action Plan against economic crime from March this year, where we stated that the government is open to consider implementation of such rules in Norway either as a part of an EU legislation process or on an individual basis. The debate will now go into a more intensive phase. The closer we get to a concrete proposal; the clearer will the objections be.
I wish you all, and the organizer of this meeting: PWYP especially, good luck with the debate!