Terror bill exceeds a billion already

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Norway’s home-grown terrorist Anders Behring Breivik has already cost his fellow taxpayers more than NOK 1 billion (USD 188 million) in addition to the 77 lives he took in his July 22 attacks on the government and a Labour Party summer camp. The terror bill doesn’t even begin to include what it will cost to repair or rebuild the bombed-out government complex downtown.

This was a conference room at the Ministry of Justice, which was heavily damaged in the July 22 terrorist attacks. Most of Norway's government ministries face huge costs replacing equipment and renting new quarters. PHOTO: Justisdepartementet

The government asked the parliament on Friday for approval of an additional allocation of NOK 1.029 billion to the 2011 budget. More extraordinary budget items will be included in the state budget proposal for 2012, due to be presented next Thursday.

Most of the initial costs include rental of temporary offices for all the government ministries that have had to move to new quarters. The ministry for business and trade, for example, was among those heavily damaged by the bombing and it needs NOK 9.3 million to cover rent and new equipment at its new offices. The education, labour  and oil and energy ministries need similar amounts.

They’re modest compared to the Justice Ministry, which was all but destroyed in the bombing plus faces extraordinary costs of funding the investigation into the attacks, 95 new police positions and equipment for civil defense. Its extra funding is pegged at NOK 281 million.

The health ministry, meanwhile, needs NOK 95.9 million to cover the costs of new offices, equipment and extra health care costs tied to the terror. The Ministry of Defense has had to turn its offices over to the Office of the Prime Minister, and move to new temporary quarters of its own. That’s costing nearly NOK 87 million.

The finance ministry also needs more money, to the tune of NOK 32 million, to cover the costs of their own uprooting and the special July 22 Commission set up to investigate the emergency response to the terrorist attacks. The Ministry of Culture needs NOK 32.7 million to cover, among other things, the costs of funerals that the state has offered to pay on behalf of victims’ families and the national memorial ceremony.

“It’s been necessary to take measures that have considerable consequences for the state budget,” Finance Minister Sigbjørn Johnsen said in a press release issued Friday. He’ll be proposing more allocations to cover the costs of the terrorist attacks in the budget he’ll present to parliament on October 6.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund
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