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President critiques corporate tax evasion, public sector growth

President Sauli Niinistö on Wednesday urged corporate leaders to think twice before using tax havens to avoid paying taxes in Finland. He also criticised a reluctance to cut jobs in the upper levels of state administration.

Presidentti Sauli Niinistö pitämässä puhetta.
Sauli Niinistö spoke at a seminar focusing on competitiveness on January 15. Image: Yle

President Sauli Niinistö took aim at Finnish companies that stash their cash in overseas tax havens, pointing out that the state provides them with direct subsidies, infrastructure and education for their employees. He noted that the government has also recently slashed the corporate tax rate.

The president was addressing a business seminar in Helsinki focusing on competitiveness.

"Completely unsustainable"

Niinistö also sharply criticised the size of the public sector, saying that its share of GDP is "completely unsustainable". He said a programme aimed at boosting productivity in the state administration had failed. The president asked why job cuts in the state government have been aimed at lower level employees.

"It seems that these cuts are primarily aimed at the level of workers who directly serve the public," he said, adding that there have not been reductions at the upper levels – on the contrary.

"Of course, there is a benefit in that this ensures that there will be plenty of public-sector people to attend seminars in the future," Niinistö concluded sarcastically.

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