Government "Too Big And Expensive" For Iceland - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Government “Too Big And Expensive” For Iceland

Published December 17, 2015

Photos by
Haukur Már Helgason

The Iceland Chamber of Commerce believes Iceland’s government is too large, and recommend combining or closing a number of agencies.

Vísir reports that the Chamber of Commerce believes Iceland’s government, and the government institutions it funds, are too large for a country of 320,000 people, resulting in money wasted. Currently, there are 188 government-run agencies in Iceland. The Chamber of Commerce recommends this be reduced to 70.

“What we are pointing out is that in smaller states, it costs more to operate a complex agencies system,” Björn Brynjúlfur Björnsson, an economist at the Chamber of Commerce, told reporters. “We are not recommending that the core operations of these agencies be reduced; we are recommending reducing costs amongst other reasons due to the operations costs. These costs reduce the effectiveness of these agencies to due their jobs satisfactorily.”

Combining existing agencies – as was done with the police in 2007 – can reduce costs, they argue, but that is not all they recommend. The Chamber of Commerce has also recommended closing five government agencies: the Housing Financing Fund, the Debtors’ Ombudsman, the State Alcohol and Tobacco Company of Iceland, the Icelandic International Development Agency and Icelandic State Financial Investments. The Chamber of Commerce considers these agencies entirely unnecessary, and that existing government offices can already do their jobs.

In addition, they recommend that Iceland continue to combine municipalities together, suggesting passing a law on the bare minimum number of residents needed for a place to be considered its own municipality.

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