NORWAY - The Ministry of Labour and Social Inclusion has entered into an agreement with an actuarial firm to provide consultancy services in connection with the ongoing pension reforms.

Arbeids- og Inkluderingsdepartementet issued a tender for the provision of actuarial services at the end of December 2007, as part of the pension reforms which include a change in the retirement age for the old age pension section of the National Insurance Scheme from 67 to 62 starting in 2010, although those who defer their pension until 67 or later will receive higher benefits.

The labour ministry has awarded the two-year actuarial contract to Aktuarfirmaet Lillevold & Partners ASA tp help tackle the reforms outlined in the governmental white paper 2006-2007 - which also include the introduction of pension earning for unpaid care and life expectancy based pension adjustment and indexation of paid-out pensions for the National Insurance Scheme.

The Ministry said it entered into a framework agreement with the firm in February, and chose Aktuarfirmaet Lillevold & Partners out of four applications, based on criteria including the competence of the consultants and price.

Under the terms of the two-year contract Aktuarfirmaet Lillevold & Partners will be expected to provide actuarial services including the "elucidation and analyses of technical issues" relating to the pension reform.

The appointed firm is also expected to carry out activities such as the assessment of notes, calculations and other documents, in addition to preparing notes, completing calculations and participating in Ministry meetings.

The Norwegian government established a Pensions Commission of independent experts in 2001, to consider the main objectives and principles for reforms of the overall pension system.

The government white paper outlined the main proposals of the reforms, including the introduction of a mandatory occupational pension system on 1 January 2006, while legislative amendments to allow the changes to the old age pension in the National Insurance Scheme were put to the Norwegian Storting - parliament - on 28 January 2008.

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