City Council chief issues emergency call for funding so that “Oslo companies can survive”

Raymond JohansenPhoto: Terje Bendiksby / NTB
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Oslo City Council chief Raymond Johansen (AP) is asking for a separate package of measures for Oslo that would include a survival guarantee for companies that were profitable before the pandemic.

Johansen says that many of Oslo’s cornerstone companies are in danger of disappearing.

“That is why today I am issuing an emergency call from Oslo City Hall. We need a separate package of measures for Oslo,” he said.

According to the City Council leader, the measures must be specifically aimed at tourism and nightlife, and especially at the areas with the highest unemployment. 

Johansen says it is extremely important that compensation schemes target those hardest hit and ensure that bankrupt companies survive.

Survival guarantee

He also referred to what he described as a thought-provoking demonstration that was carried out on Grünerløkka earlier this week. 

At the time, several posters were set up warning that large chains may open where independent shops and restaurants stand today.

“I hope that the government responds to our distress call and gives a survival guarantee to companies that were profitable before the pandemic,” he noted.

When asked if he has received indications from the government that they would come up with such an Oslo package, Johansen answered that he is in close contact with the industry and sees that the current measures do not work well enough.

“I will continue to have close contact with the Minister of Trade and Industry and others, but so far, we have not managed to get an Oslo package,” he said.

Concerns

Minister of Local Government and Modernization Nikolai Astrup (H) told news bureau NTB that he agrees with Johansen that there is reason to worry about companies that are struggling due to the pandemic.

“That is the reason why the government has put forward targeted packages of measures for companies. 

“They apply regardless of where the companies are. If they have experienced a major turnover decrease, they will receive help from the authorities,” he noted.

He said that companies in Oslo should be covered by the same package of measures as companies elsewhere in the country.

“When Oslo is hit by the pandemic so hard, it also means that a significant proportion of the money allocated will go to companies in Oslo,” Astrup added.

“I would encourage Raymond Johansen to consider what Oslo Municipality itself can do to remedy the situation for companies in Oslo that are struggling, for example, to ease the property tax or other mitigating measures,” Astrup concluded.

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today

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