Minister of Finance Steingrímur J. Sigfússon and Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir announced at a press conference on Friday that funding to the office of the special prosecutor, which is investigating the collapse of the banking system, will be increased.
Minister of Finance Steingrímur J. Sigfússon. Photo by Páll Kjartansson.
“We will reinforce the office and probably also increase the number of prosecutors,” Sigfússon said. These measures are undertaken to improve the leverage of investigators and are a response to criticism expressed by the office’s special consultant, Eva Joly. It is unclear how much funding to the investigation will increase.
The government leaders also presented other measures during the press conference, such as a planned bill on a consulting referendum, which would enable the Althingi parliament to call for a referendum with a simple majority.
The referendum would be based on the current election system and there would not be any conditions on minimum participation. The bill also assumes that such a referendum is called for at least three months in advance.
Sigurdardóttir explained that the University of Iceland’s Institute of Economic Studies and the Social Science Research Institute have been provided with the task to undertake a status analysis from 1990 until today with the purpose of estimating the success of economic measures in that period. It is scheduled to be completed in September this year.
Furthermore, Sigfússon mentioned that propositions on owner and ownership policy of state-owned companies had been presented to the cabinet, involving that the state’s ownership of banks and financial institutions will be transferred to independent parties who will operate these companies according to the state’s policy. A bill to that end is expected this week.
Measures in relation to state finances are also expected to be presented this week. Sigfússon said it would probably be unnecessary to lay off employees in the public sector. However, it is possible that the number of state employees will decrease since vacant positions will not be filled.
A planned bill on a wage council, which will determine the wages of the highest-ranking executives of state-run companies on behalf of the government, was also dicussed during the press conference. No salaries in the public sector will be higher than that of the prime minister.