Strengthening country-by-country reporting regulations in Norway. What next?

Truls Wickholm: How will the Norwegian government follow up the country-by-country regulation? Photo: Eline Helledal
Truls Wickholm from the Labour Party has asked the Norwegian Finance Minister how the Norwegian government will follow up the country-by-country regulation. Photo: PWYP Norway/Eline Helledal

Just before the summer recess started in Norway, the Norwegian Parliament, the Storting, agreed to strengthen country-by-country reporting regulations. To find out how the Norwegian Government plans on following up on this new regulation, Truls Wickholm, (Labour Party), has sent a written question to Siv Jensen, Norway’s Finance Minister.

The parties represented in the Norwegian Parliament on 19 June 2015 unanimously agreed to sharpen work on financial transparency. To boost this revised national law, the head of the Finance Committee, Hans Olav Syversen, from the Norwegian Christian Democratic Party, proposed to strengthen country-by-country reporting regulations.

Read also: "PRESS RELEASE: A united parliament wants to strengthen the country-by-country regulation"

PWYP Norway has been working on this law for several years and believes that this is a great victory for the transparency movement in their quest for a top notch global transparency standard. The key change that this law bring is that companies working in extractives and forestry in unplanted forests now also have to report on investments in tax havens, which they had previously managed to avoid.

Because companies often do not pay taxes in tax havens, the importance and relevance of this new requirement will only be achieved when we get strong regulations that compel companies to report on their costs in tax havens.

The parties represented in the Norwegian Parliament on 19 June 2015 unanimously agreed to sharpen work on financial transparency. To boost this revised national law, the head of the Finance Committee, Hans Olav Syversen, from the Norwegian Christian Democratic Party, proposed to strengthen country-by-country reporting regulations.

PWYP Norway has been working on this law for several years and believes that this is a great victory for the transparency movement in their quest for a top notch global transparency standard. The key change that this law bring is that companies working in extractives and forestry in unplanted forests now also have to report on investments in tax havens, which they had previously managed to avoid.

Because companies often do not pay taxes in tax havens, the importance and relevance of this new requirement will only be achieved when we get strong regulations that compel companies to report on their costs in tax havens.

But the question is now how will the Treasury Department follow up work on this regulation in practice? To get an answer to this question, Member of Parliament for the Labour Party, Truls Wickholm has sent the following written question to Finance Minister Siv Jensen:

Question:

Truls Wickholm: Just before the summer, the Parliament decided to strengthen the work of the Country by Country reporting based on a broad consensus that the current regulations are not working as intended. In what way is this being followed up on by the Finance Minister, keeping in mind that the minister will submit a regulation for consultation by the end of the year? If not, when will the minister do this, and how does the Minister foresee civil society engagement with the regulations and its influence on the design and content of the regulations?

Background:

See the debate and parliamentary resolution 19/06/2015 when the case was dealt with in conjunction with the Parliament’s considerations of a revised national budget for 2016. Click here to see the question on Stortinget.no (link is external and in Norwegian)

Treasury Siv Jensen must respond within six working days.

Three remaining elements

PWYP Norway believes that we should introduce a so-called extended country-by-country reporting. We lack only three elements to get a good law that will function as intended:

1. Take full costs of country-by-country reporting.

2. That the companies have to report from every country they are registered in without exception.

3. That information is integrated as notes to the accounts in order to avoid that other information than the actual figures reported.