Privatization Proposal Stirs Debate in Norway

Photo : Magnus Fröderberg -Norden | Finance Minister Siv Jensen.


In line with the last week’s declaration, the government is now in the process of selling some of the state companies. The property company Entra and the Airport Express Train are among the companies the government will privatize. 

Hotel chains owner and billionaire Petter A. Stordalen told Dagbladet that he did not understand the logic to liquidate government activities for foreign stock exchange when the state is already rich and does not need money. 

– I am the capitalist, but I do not understand the commercial logic, said Stordalen. 

Former Progress Party (FrP) leader Carl I. Hagen agrees with Stordalen and criticizes his own party which is one of the partners of the coalition government. He also believes it is important to keep control in companies that are important to the Norwegian economy, to ensure headquarters in Norway. 

Give the shares to People

Further Hagen comes with a very radical proposal:

– If the purpose of the sale of state-owned companies is to invest on stocks and real estate abroad, I have a much better idea: Hand out the shares to the Norwegian people! Then everyone will manage their own ownership, Hagen says to Dagbladet. 

He notes there may be a need for training of the Norwegian people in stock market but many will not many risk losing money because they do not know enough about the stock. 

– What can they lose if they receive the shares for free? Many would probably sell the shares, and get money for it, others will increase their portfolio and could make money. We talk often about the government’s money is the Norwegian people’s money. Yes, so why do not we give them money, then?, asks Hagen.