New law to stop tax evaders

SvD reports the government is now proposing that Swedish companies will no longer be permitted to declare their taxes in a single lump sum. From next year large companies should declare how much they pay in each country they operate in.

Furthermore the Swedish Tax Agency (Skatteverket) is to increase the exchange of tax information with other countries’ tax authorities. The purpose is to give Skatteverket more power to tackle tax evasion.

Minister for finance Magdalena Andersson says, “This will be an important tool making it easier for Skatteverket to effectively assess whether companies are paying the correct tax and see whether it is the case that a company is not paying tax in any country.”

Lena Ek to boost ESS

There is a risk that Swedish industry receives only scant returns from the European Spallation Source (ESS) research facility. The ESS, which is being built in Lund, will be fully operative by 2025. However there has been concern about a lack of a national strategy for how Sweden and Swedish companies will benefit from the 6 billion kronor investment.

The government has now appointed former minister for the environment, Lena Ek, to support the government offices in the issue. “Her role is to create knowledge and collaboration between colleges, universities and business and to ensure all member countries who are part of this major project feel that they are in safe hands with Sweden as the host,” says Helene Hellmark Knutsson, minister for higher education and research.

820 redundancies in Kumla and Borås

Ericsson has announced 820 redundancies in Kumla and Borås and it is now definite that production will end completely in Kista. Sixty employees will remain in Kumla to work on developing new 4G technology.

Anders Ferbe, chair of the union IF Metall, is critical of the decision, calling it the wrong strategy. It is terrible that Ericsson wants to starve itself out of the problem. I had hoped that they would display more of an offensive,says Anders Ferbe.

SvD reports that enterprise minister Mikael Damberg (S) has promised action although the details are unclear. Unfortunately this decision was expected. But that is hardly comfort for those people and families that are affected. I now expect Ericsson to take responsibility and help employees on to their next jobs,says Mikael Damberg.

He says that once the government knows the full extent of the redundancies they will present what they can do to strengthen the IT and telecoms cluster in Sweden.

Lundin denies serious allegations

The senior management of Lundin Petroleum have been accused of assisting in crimes against international law in Sudan and South Sudan. The accusations concern how Lundin Petroleum, then called Lundin Oil, acted to gain access to block 5A, an area in Sudan where the company wanted to prospect for oil despite the fact that Sudan was in civil war. Lundin Oil is accused of having given financial support to the military which expelled civilians from block 5A. Between 10,000 and 12,000 people were killed during the operation.

In an open letter to shareholders in Lundin Petroleum Ian Lundin writes, “This process is part of the normal procedures in Swedish preliminary investigations and we want to emphasise that no charge have been made. The board remains convinced that there are no grounds to the accusations that any representative of Lundin has acted improperly.”

However prosecutor Magnus Elving hopes to press charges next year and Egbert Wesselink, spokesperson for the European Coalition on Oil in Sudan (ECOS), which monitors international oil companies in Sudan welcomes the news. This is the first time someone has been made accountable for what happened in Sudan and South Sudan, according to Elving.

“Bank ID creates a monopoly”

A conflict between payment service Klarna and the company Finansiell ID Teknik has broken out after the company forced Klarna to close down parts of a new app. Rules around the electronic identification BankID state that users cannot use other log in methods while using BankID.

Klarna considers BankID to be a good service but that its rules are problematic. “Above all they affect the user experience negatively but also because in practice it creates a monopoly for secure log ins,” says Jesper Wigardt, press officer at Klarna.

Booming economy

The National Institute of Economic Research said on Thursday that its Economic Tendency Indicator had climbed for a third successive month (ed.), from 106.2 in October to 107.9 in November.

SEB economist Carl Hammer commented that this indicated continued strong growth in the economy and that “it is pretty obvious that we do not need another round of expansionary monetary policy”.

Nordea’s Andreas Wallström noted that the indicator points towards GDP growth of 5 per cent, while colleague Torbjörn Isaksson highlighted the fact that retailers are signalling more modest inflation at the same time as household expectations on inflation had risen.

Deputy Riksbank governor Martin Flodén told reporters that the central bank’s forecast for the Swedish economy is starting to be a little on the low side compared to other forecasts, and that he had noted the Economic Tendency Indicator had climbed.

However, he is not convinced that this should lead to the Riksbank upwardly revising its forecasts.

Riksbank speculation costing billions

Fund managers around Europe, Asia and the US have expressed surprise in the past six months over the Riksbank’s negative interest rates and bond-buying programme in the midst of a boom merely because inflation is not around the 2% target, writes business daily Dagens Industri.

The portfolio managers’ concerns over the Riksbank have resulted in an aversion towards the krona, which has fallen against virtually every other currency in the world. The Riksbank’s speculative dealings are costing taxpayers in Sweden billions, argues the paper

Ericsson suspected of bribing ex-president

According to a report by Swedish Radio’s news programme Ekot, in 1999 Ericsson paid 2.5 million kronor to a bank account, which was controlled by Costa Rica’s ex-president Miguel Angel Rodriguez. At the same time, the Swedish telecommunications giant was competing for a major telecoms contract in the country.

Ericsson tried to hide the payment by using a shell company and “bounced the money” through banks in three different countries before reaching an account in Panama.

Several former executives who have been promised anonymity have told Swedish Radio of similar payments made to ministers and senior managers in countries in which Ericsson wanted to obtain contracts.

Ericsson is currently facing a series of corruption probes, including in Greece and the US.

“Politicians have failed”

Carola Lemne, the head of the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise (Svenskt Näringsliv), is appalled over Donald Trump’s victory and his “arch-conservative” administration. She believes there are lessons are to be drawn from the populist wave that is sweeping across the world; that is to say politicians have failed to tackle society’s problems.

Lemne is particularly critical of Magdalena Andersson, who she describes as a “tax minister” rather than a finance minister.

Meanwhile, a fresh poll from Nordic Pa Research has shown that voters have more confidence in business leaders than party leaders, and that Sweden Democratic leader Jimmie Åkesson understands the situation of voters best. This would suggest there is widespread scepticism of the established parties and their leaders.

Radical change in Stockholm

Regional planners expect the population of the Greater Stockholm region to grow by 17 per cent, or by 380,000, between 2015 and 2025. The region is projected to have a population of 2.6 million by 2025.

Up to 250,000 new homes are to be built, and a number of the municipalities in the region are expected to undergo a radical change.