Upbeat Minister- Time to Stop Self-Flagellation

The Finnish Minister for Economic Affairs, Mr. Lintilä, gave a good overview of the state of the nation today. Even though the rest of the world does not have a clue what will happen next, it is useful that politicians try to change the course of away from this self flagellation!

Although “Will it or will it not” is the major question that everybody is asking Shakespeare had a better line to which an appropriate ending may be added:

“To be, or not to be, that is the question:

Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer

The slings and arrows of outrageous Covid-19…”

After talking with the bank CEOs he saw that there was no demand for loans from the companies even though the government was guaranteeing them and the banks were licking their lips to charge outrageous margins for government risk with a 10% residual risk on the poor companies. It appears that the companies are smart by not borrowing too much and they are smart not to agree to outrageous loan pricing… banks already have too much support from the taxpayers and they do very little to help the real economy. 

So it is a game of wait and see…

Even though companies are cautious consumer confidence and housing market are stable, industrial growth has been seen in Europe, like some good H1 results from companies… that’s the positive.

On the negative side industrial orders are lower, as are exports to China, Russia and USA… and the forest and tourist sectors are also seeing major problems. Growing unemployment will haunt us for some time to come.

Note production numbers – Forestry and paper down 23%, Chemicals down 12%, Metal down 8% last month.

The government haas closed down several of their grant support measures for companies with over €1.5 billion was paid out to companies in need. It appears from the numbers and statistics that the money was distributed wisely. Another €95 million was granted to cover lost revenues and keep people employed but €150 million left over on the table. 

The government is still considering new measures:

    1. How does taxation affect work and industrial production?
    2. Heating fuel pricing for industrial – minimum EU pricing?
    3. Electricity tax also needs to be at the lowest minimum EU level?
    4. Greenhouse emissions compensation regulation needs to be set?
    5. Export finance also needs to be strengthened, unnecessary regulations need to be reduced, and wood buildings need to be supported by incentives?
    6. Finland needs to optimise how we use that big “EU Economic Support Program” – Green solutions, Digital solutions, R&D, retraining of workers and social challenges need to be attacked.

The opposition is screaming again, but their screams just reflect what the government itself is planning. While the fat cats are increasing their bonuses, it appears that these same men are telling workers that they will have to take pay cuts for Finnish exports to remain competitive.

The big forestry companies are demanding more fuel tax cuts as well as cheaper electricity. They have an insatiable appetite for public money for retraining their staff. CSR and UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) are all the rage in their websites and annual reports but their actions speak a very different language.

Photo: Wikipedia Commons – istolethetvFlickr: striding

Good Friday observance in Barangay (barrio) San Pedro Cutud, in San Fernando, Pampanga, Philippines. During this annual tradition of faith of Kapampangan Catholic Devotees people remember the suffering and crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Although the modern Catholic church now discourages this act of hurting themselves, many penitents called “magdarame” carry wooden crosses, crawl on rough pavement, and slash their backs before whipping themselves to draw blood (pictured). This is done to ask for forgiveness of sins, to fulfill vows (panata), or to express gratitude for favors granted. 

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