Updated figures from General government revenue and expenditure show a 27 per cent increase in revenue in 2021, while the accumulated expenditure only increased by 2 per cent compared to 2020. In 2020 there was a deficit of NOK 89 billion, while the surplus in 2021 is estimated at NOK 376 billion.

Figure 1. Net lending/borrowing (1 year moving average)

Increase in petroleum revenue

There has been a substantial increase in petroleum revenues in 2021, much larger than previously expected. The petroleum revenues were low in 2020 as a result of low oil prices and provisional amendments made to taxation of oil and gas companies. Tax revenues, as well as dividends and withdrawals from petroleum companies owned by the state, has increased substantially in 2021, in large parts due to high gas prices. The combined petroleum revenue in 2020 was NOK 60 billion, while these revenues totaled NOK 491 billion in 2021.

Continued effects of COVID-19

When petroleum revenue is kept aside, it becomes clear that 2021 is yet another year influenced by the covid-19 pandemic. Without petroleum revenues there was a deficit of approximately NOK 150 billion in 2020, and NOK 115 billion in 2021. In both 2020 and 2021 the government increased expenditure to counter the effects of the economic shutdown on households and businesses in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The non-petroleum related tax revenues increased from 2020 to 2021, but one must consider the low levels of tax revenue in 2020 when looking at this growth.

In addition to new figures for 2021Q4, there are revisions made to 2020 and 2021Q-Q3. New estimates for petroleum tax lead to large upwards revisions of petroleum tax in 2021Q1-Q3. Additionally, petroleum taxes for 2020 were updated. Other tax revenues are also revised from 2020Q1 onwards, due to new information.