NUCC on the “Stortingsmelding” on the Nansen-program of 2nd of February 2024
NUCC was present when The Government of Norway on February 2nd presented its White Paper (Stortingsmelding) to parliament on its current and future priorities in financially supporting Ukraine, through its 5-year Nansen Support Programme (NSP), totaling approx. 7,5 billion EUR/75 billion NOK.
Norway will continue its already established support through existing initiatives for economic development, mainly through multilateral actors such as EBRD, IFC and MIGA. Norwegian financial aid to Ukraine shall follow the generic and principal note that it is unbound, i.e., that it shall not be bound to benefitting the Norwegian economy. As such, efforts related to specifically promoting Norwegian business in Ukraine is not directly eligible to be financed by the Nansen-program. However, initiatives supporting the Ukrainian private sector can include a Norwegian (or any other foreign) component.
The mentioning of financial support to private sector development and rebuilding in Ukraine is only included in smaller parts of the White Paper, focusing on financial risk reduction tools that are made available for Ukrainian or Norwegian foreign businesses, and the tools that they anticipate will soon be made available. Here is what we can read from it so far:
- Norad has been tasked by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) to propose how Norwegian support can increase private investments in Ukraine according to Ukraine’s needs for recovery and rebuilding efforts. It is expected that Norad’s business support tools could be made available and open for application 1H2024.
- Export Credit Finance Norway (Eksfin) is partially limited by how much risk it can accept during the war but is now able to cover 100 percent of commercial and political risk for projects in Ukraine, given that the level of risk is acceptable.
- Innovation Norway (IN) has been commissioned to monitor the needs and assess opportunities for Norwegian companies in Ukraine, specifically mentioning participation at fairs/conferences.
- Norfund have yet to receive clarifications in regards of Ukraine, but the government is currently considering how the fund could be used to strengthen and improve business development in the country. No specific date of decision is provided as of now.
- The Free Trade Agreement (EFTA) and its renewal is mentioned in the White Paper, where the Norwegian side plans to give Ukraine the lowest customs rates that Norway has conceded to other trading partners. An update of the free trade agreement with Ukraine is to be initiated in the first quarter of 2024.
- B2G sales in the Defense Sector; meaning that from 01.01.24, Ukraine can buy defense material directly from Norwegian industry, regardless of where the purchase funds come from. However, the MFA will still require an export license.
Stortingsmeldingen clearly states that: “Private sector is key to support the Ukrainian economy and resilience today – and long term to rebuild Ukraine into a more functioning, modern, transparent, and green European nation.”
NUCC will follow-up with a deeper analysis of the White Paper and provide recommendations to Parliament as they will now debate and further cement the Norwegian approach to supporting Ukraine. Naturally, this topic is also on the agenda for next week’s NUCC Board of Directors meeting.