The Government warns against letting Vinmonopolet take over duty-free sales
Airports across the country can be shut down if Vinmonopolet (the Wine Monopoly) takes over tax-free sales of alcohol, the Norwegian Government fears.
On Friday, a report from the Ministry of Health and Care Services was made about the consequences of changing the tax-free scheme approved by the Government council.
In February, the Centre Party put forward a proposal to let Vinmonopolet take over alcohol sales at the airport’s tax-free shops when Avinor’s agreement with Travel Retail Norway expires in 2022. The Socialists (SV) and Christian Democrats (KrF) were in favour, while the Labour Party (Ap) wished to wait for the Government’s review of the matter.
Warns against a takeover
They now strongly warn against letting Vinmonopolet do so.
– If a system is chosen whereby Vinmonopolet has exclusive rights to sell alcoholic beverages at the airports, this will mean an acceptance of a significant risk that this will have a negative effect on the airport economy, according to the review.
– If Avinor’s tax-free income is reduced, this will probably lead to closures of unprofitable airports across the country, it continues. In addition, the state can lose over NOK half a billion a year in dividends from Avinor.
Today, eight of Avinor’s airports are operating at a profit, while 36 airports are experiencing deficits.
According to Avinor, revenues of up to NOK 1.3 billion may disappear a year if Vinmonopolet acquires the tax-free sales. Vinmonopolet refutes this. The review further states that there are «significant disagreements» between the parties and that there is considerable uncertainty about what will happen if Vinmonopolet takes over.
At the same time, a takeover by Vinmonopolet can «strengthen the consistency of alcohol policy and increase the legitimacy of wine monopoly», the Government acknowledges.
Travel Retail Norway has had exclusive rights to tax-free sales in Norway since 2004.
© NTB scanpix / #Norway Today