Social Democratic Alliance MP Helgi Hjörvar is calling the Progressive Party-led government’s bill to reduce the fee charged to quota owners for their right to fish “incomprehensible,” saying that the government is showing itself to be putting the “pampering” of ship owners ahead of assisting households.
Helgi participated in a debate in Althingi today, questioning why assistance for indebted homeowners was sent to be deliberated upon by a committee while cutting a fee charged to wealthy fishing quota holders received immediate attention, RÚV reports.
When the IMF ended a two-week visit to Iceland last Friday – part of a regular audit of the economy – its delegation, headed by Daria Zakharova, reviewed the fishing fee and concluded that it would not prevent investment in the fishing sector, which is the Progressive government’s primary argument for slashing it. The IMF therefore recommended the fee be maintained, RÚV reports. Zakharova is waiting to see a detailed plan for household debt relief, the platform on which the Progressive Party ran.
Fisheries and ship owners have been generous financial contributors to the Progressive Party and the Independence Party, both of which comprise the current coalition government.