Only in Norway

From Upstream Online:

Norway’s departed oil minister Ola Borten Moe may have been deprived of his portfolio after recent elections but apparently is still looking to milk the state cow even as the part-time farmer seeks fresh pastures.

After being given the boot, Borten Moe now finds the boot is on the other foot and is reported to have requested a Nkr300,000 ($50,700) payout – equivalent to three months’ gross salary – from the government to keep the wolves from the door while he looks for another job.

The so-called after-salary is only available to members of the administrative apparatus who are without work and he is said to be among seven former government members now seeking the extra benefit.

Now it is arguable whether he needs this allowance – he owns a heavily subsidised farm and I’m sure he could pick up a lucrative job in the private sector pretty quickly – but that’s not my point.

What I find fascinating is that only in Norway would a departing oil minister be concerned about his financial position in the absence of pending criminal embezzlement charges.  I’m sure the outgoing oil ministers from most producing nations would be more concerned with which multi-million dollar overseas property to spend the next few months in.  Even in the UK, ministers ensure they cultivate enough arse-lickers to ensure a cushy tenure in an NGO or consultancy somewhere immediately afterwards.

On the face of it, a politician’s job in Norway seems to be closer to a real job than you’d find anywhere else in the world.


3 thoughts on “Only in Norway

  1. And a three months redundancy payment when a real job ceases to exist for you is pretty unremarkable, too. This one appears to only be paid if you don’t go straight to another job, which makes it sound a bit mean rather than generous, in truth. (I don’t know what is normal in Norway, though). I am not sure that politics *should* be a real job, but if it is, this looks normal.

    Is Norway the only country ever that has got rich through oil, and in which the oil money has not been stolen, though. Credit to them for this.

  2. Other countries have gotten rich through oil – Kuwait, for example – but no state-run oil company has managed to achieve the levels of corporate governance as Statoil, and no government has come anywhere near as close to Norway for responsible stewardship of the proceeds. If the population is small enough to be paid off by the proceeds from the production, then it is possible for a country to become rich even without good corporate governance or responsible stewardship. This is how Kuwait, the UAE, and Qatar have gotten rich, and to a lesser extent Saudi Arabia. The problem is when corporate governance and stewardship is weak in countries whose populations are too large to be paid off from the revenues (e.g. Nigeria, Mexico, Russia, etc.). Then the revenues tend to be squandered amongst an elite few.

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