Thursday evening, all the parties in Parliament agreed to strengthen the work on financial transparency. A great victory for transparency, and an important step in the right direction, PWYP Norway says.
The suggestion was submitted today by the leader of the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs, Hans Olav Syversen, and it reads as follows: “The Parliament asks the Government to review the effect of the CBC regulation, measured against the Parliament’s goal to expose unwanted tax adjustments, and to make sure that relevant information related to the CBC reporting from subsidiaries and support functions in third countries appears in the financial accounts. The Parliament also asks the Government to consider the possibilities for establishing a supervisory framework for the companies that are obliged to report under the CBC regulation.”
Not a complete resolution
– A United Parliament wanting to strengthen the country-by-country reporting is an important victory. However, it is important to remember that this is not a complete resolution, nor a decision to implement an extended country-by-country reporting. But, the resolution opens up for an extended country-by-country reporting, and PWYP Norway will closely monitor how the resolution is followed up, to make sure the content is defined in the right way. That will allow us to put in place the relevant and necessary reporting, which can expose unwanted tax adjustments, says Mona Thowsen, Secretary General in PWYP Norway.
PWYP Norway has expectations when it comes to both process and content:
- Expectations to the regulatory process: When the Government is to “..review the effect..”, we expect that the Government now sets in motion a process of changing the regulation and conducting a hearing on it. A regulatory amendment must be sent out for consultation during the autumn, so that we can put in place an extended country-by-country reporting by early 2016.
- Expectations to the regulatory content: PWYP Norway expects the Government to conduct the necessary regulatory changes by:
- Including full costs in the country-by-country reporting
- Securing that companies have to report from all countries where they are registered, without any exemptions
- Securing that the information is added as notes to the annual financial accounts, in order to avoid the reporting of anything other than actual accounting figures.
- This is an important victory for all the organisations behind PWYP Norway. This demonstrates the added value of standing together for transparency. We now have a united will in the Parliament, and Industry Energy now asks the Government to grab this opportunity to support one of the most important struggles of our times. Financial secrecy threatens workers’ rights, favorable competitive conditions and fair play, says Leif Sande, leader of Industry Energy and PWYP Norway board member.
These are the 19 organisations behind PWYP Norway.
- This is an important step in the right direction. We encourage the Government to follow up the Parliament’s resolution. In many countries journalists and human rights activists are subjected to harassment and death threats when they try to collect this kind of information. Therefore, it is important not only for us here in Norway that extended country-by-country reporting becomes the common standard. It also helps promote an international standard, which makes it far less dangerous for people in other countries to work to document how companies and authorities handle and use the resources and the profits they have access to, and how it is taxed, says Beate Ekeløve-Slydal, political advisor in Amnesty International and PWYP Norway board member.
Christine Amdam, communications adviser, Publish What You Pay Norway, email@example.com (link sends e-mail), +47 986 39 684
Mona Thowsen, Secretary General, Publish What You Pay Norway, firstname.lastname@example.org (link sends e-mail), +47 922 08 412
PWYP Norway has worked for nearly ten years to get the law on extended country-by-country reporting implemented:
- In 2011 the European Union’s proposal on country-by-country reporting was sent on a hearing in Norway.
- In 2012 PWYP Norway launched a report where we presented the demands of an extended country-by-country reporting.
- In 2013 several Norwegian politicians involved themselves in the fight for an extended country-by-country reporting, and Hans Olav Syversen from the Christian Democratic Party posed several written questions to the Government. 14 October the Minister of Finance, Sigbjørn Johnsen, presented the bill on country-by-country reporting to the Parliament together with the state budget.
- 1 January 2014 Norway adopted the country-by-country reporting requirements for all Norwegian registered multinational companies in the petroleum and mining industries, as well as the forestry industry. This means that Statoil, among others, have to report country-by-country.
- In 2015 several Norwegian politicians, and particularly the Labour Party and the Socialist Left Party have continued to work for an extended country-by-country reporting. 5 June an important debate was held on the issue in the Parliament. Today it was decided to strengthen the regulation.
- Read our report on extended country-by-country reporting
- Read our analysis on Statoil’s first country-by-country report under today’s regulation
- Read our opinion piece, “Siv Jensen’s evasions”