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Norway plans occupational boost – central bank

NORWAY – The Norwegian government plans to include more people in occupational pension schemes, the central bank says.

“In connection with the 2004 wage settlement, the government has stated that proposals concerning employment-based pensions will be put forward this year, including proposals for certain minimum standards that will be apply to all employees that are not already included in more favourable schemes,” said Norges Bank governor Svein Gjedrem.

“The proposal implies that many private sector employees that are not currently covered by a company pension scheme will be included in the proposed scheme,” he told a meeting hosted by Sparebank 1 at the University Center in Svalbard.

He said workers in the retail, hospitality and construction sectors were most under represented in occupational schemes.

Earlier this week the central bank kept interest rates steady at 1.75% - but it also faced a critical report into its operations.

The ‘Norges Bank Watch 2004’ report commissioned by the government and prepared by the Centre for Monetary Economics pointed to “massive forecast failures”, “suboptimal monetary policy strategy” and a lack of transparency.

“This year’s report is yet another of a number of useful reports from Norges Bank Watch. We will carefully assess the advice,” Gjedrem said. But he said the report did not touch on background developments in the Norwegian economy in recent years.

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