Minister of Finance Siv Jensen had invited some of Norway's top economists to the Department of Finance on Monday to share their views on how the Norwegian economy can be modernized and reformed. "For a short term, the Norwegian economy will continue to go very well. We have pretty a pretty good estimate of growth, low unemployment rates and high employment," Jensen tells Dagens Næringsliv.
However, Jensen also states that the economy has significant challenges in the long-term, which include a decline in the productivity rate, a high cost level, and an inefficient public sector.
"The sooner we get to work the less painful this will be," Jensen says. We can wait and end up in the same situation as Greece and other countries around us have been in. That would mean painful and demanding adjustments that will affect a large portion of the population, the Minister of Finance explains.
Professor at the Norwegian School of Economics (NHH), Victor Norman, was among the professors who were invited on Monday. He took the opportunity to speak to Jensen about reform politics.
"I tried to argue that big changes work better than small. Our biggest successes have been where we have been able to do something with the structure," he tells Dagens Næringsliv.
According to Norman the oil age will last for several more decades, but it may not be always be as profitable. "I don't think change is the challenge, but risk. Norway can risk turbulence at a great altitude, and it may hit at any time," Norman says.
Jensen's main goal with Monday's discussions was first and foremost to listen. She also wanted to highlight the following five areas that she thinks needs work in order to increase the productivity of the Norwegian economy:
- Reforms in the public sector
- More competition, less regulations and bureaucracy
- An improved tax system
- More emphasis on results
- Specific budget priorities