Norway’s salmon industry has poured cold water on the government’s claim that the salmon tax will net NOK five billion (£373m) for the exchequer.
Geir Ystmark, CEO of the employer organisation Seafood Norway said: “I don’t believe it – the figure will be higher.”
There was general dismay over what Finance Minister Trygve Slagsvold Vedum had to offer the sector.
Apart from raising some thresholds, a plea to end the so-called employer tax appears to have ignored.
Ystmark was scathing in his response, declaring: “The government continues to develop Norway in the direction of a larger state and a smaller private sector. This makes everyday life even more difficult for the companies along the coast.
“It is disappointing that the government still insists that business must pay tax on an income they do not have. It is unreasonable, and we think most people can identify with the frustration that is now spreading along the coast and in the rural areas.
“The government estimates it will raise NOK 5 billion from the special salmon tax. We don’t believe anything in that calculation.
“The tax will be much higher. If you include increased wealth tax, increased production tax, increased interest, increased fuel taxes, increased dividend tax and the many projects and investments in more jobs and increased value creation along the coast that have been put on hold, this budget adds up to draining the coast and the districts of huge sums and important growth force in the coming years.”
He pointed out that study by the Mohn Center at the University of Western Norway had concluded that aquaculture is the most profitable industry in the country, that it is more concerned with social responsibility and environmental impact than other industries,
A competitive tax and levy level is needed which facilitates a larger private sector, not a larger public sector, said Ystmark.
He added: “Seafood Norway believes that what has come from the government in the state budget regarding aquaculture at sea is far too thin, and will not create the investment security necessary to lift this industrial adventure into the future.
“As it is now, the industry lives in fear of a dramatic tax increase if they become profitable in the future. That uncertainty must go away, and therefore we believe that a committee made up of parties must be set up to review the framework conditions for aquaculture at sea in Norway.
“Such work should result in a broadly based settlement in the Storting [Norway’s parliament] that must stand up over time.”
Source: Fish Farmer