Public sector;Public sector
Government revenue and expenditure. Taxes, petroleum revenue, social benefits, public road and railway investments. General government surplus is almost halved from 2015 to 2016.

General government revenue and expenditure2016

The statistics describe government revenue and expenditure. Together with financial assets and liabilities, they give a comprehensive overview of the sector’s finances.


About the statistics


Name and topic

Name: General government revenue and expenditure
Topic: Public sector

Responsible division

Division for Public Finance

Definitions of the main concepts and variables

See Concepts in government finance statistics for definitions of variables and other concepts used in government finance statistics.

Standard classifications

The classification of revenues and expenditures is based on the framework presented in IMF’s Government Finance Statistics Manual 2014. Expenditure by function is based on UN’s The Classification of the Functions of Government (COFOG).

For use in the national accounts' supply and use tables the data are coded by industry (NACE) and product (CPA), and partly also by receiving/paying institutional sector. This material is only disseminated through the national accounts.

Administrative information

Regional level

National level only.

Frequency and timeliness

Annual and quarterly figures. Preliminary annual figures are released in February/March after the end of the reference period – and updated figures are released in May/June and in August. Quarterly figures are released approximately 75-80 days after the end of the reference period.

International reporting


OECD, Revenue Statistics

IMF, Government Finance Statistics Yearbook


Microdata are stored in SAS and Oracle databases, and disseminated data are stored in the FAME database.


Background and purpose

The purpose of the statistics is to provide long time series for revenue and expenditure in general government based on the international guidelines for national accounts and government finance statistics. Further, Norway is obliged to compile and report such statistics to EU’s statistical organization – Eurostat.

After comprehensive revisions in 1995 and 2012 there are comparable figures from 1978 to the present.

Users and applications

Government finance statistics are input to the national accounts. Other important users are the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation, KS (the Municipalities Central Association), the Central Bank of Norway, research institutes and mass media.

Access to figures before data is released: The Ministry of Finance is granted access to imputed accrued employer contributions to the National Insurance Scheme before data is released by Statistics Norway. Publication of this material is not allowed until the figures are released by Statistics Norway.

Equal treatment of users

No external users have access to the statistics and analyses before they are published and accessible simultaneously for all users on ssb.no at 8 am. Prior to this, a minimum of three months' advance notice is given in the Statistics Release Calendar. This is one of Statistics Norway’s key principles for ensuring that all users are treated equally.

Coherence with other statistics

In principle, the statistics are incorporated directly into the national accounts. General government revenue and expenditure can be found in central and local government tables in the non-financial sector accounts.

The budgetary central government fiscal account is published annually and quarterly. These figures are based on the Ministry of Finance’s own definitions, which deviates from the definitions used in the national accounts and government finance statistics. In addition, annual municipal accounts and county authority accounts are published according to the definitions in the Local government act.

Legal authority

The Statistics Act, §2-2.

EEA reference

Commission Regulation (EC) No 264/2000 on the implementation of Council Regulation No 2223/96 with respect to short-term public finance statistics.

Regulation (EC) No 2516/2000 on modifying the common principles of the European system of national and regional accounts in the Community (ESA) 95 as concerns taxes and social contributions and amending Council Regulation (EC) No 2223/96. Commission Regulation (EC) No 995/2001 on implementing Regulation (EC) No 2516/2000.

Commission Regulation (EC) No 1500/2000 on implementing Council Regulation (EC) No 2223/96 regarding general government expenditure and revenue.

Regulation (EC) No 1221/2002 on quarterly non-financial accounts for General Government.



The statistics are based on international guidelines for national accounts and government finance statistics. These are UN’s System of National Accounts 2010 (SNA2010), EU’s European System of Accounts 2012 (ESA2012), and IMF’s Government Finance Statistics Manual 2014 (GFSM2014).

The population is delimited to the institutional sector general government, as it is defined in the international guidelines. This sector consists of all government units and all non-market institutions that are controlled by central or local government units. Market based non-financial and financial corporations owned by government are not included.

ESA2012 (chapter 20) provides a comprehensive description of the general government sector.

Data sources and sampling

The principal administrative register used is the budgetary central government fiscal account collected from The Norwegian Government Agency for Financial Management. This covers a number of government units such as the Parliament, all ministries, directorates, the Norwegian Armed Forces, police and prison services, law courts, the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Service and the National Insurance Scheme.

Public hospitals, as well as the Government Pension Fund, transmit financial statements directly to Statistics Norway.

Revenues and expenditures of public universities and university colleges are collected from the Database for Statistics on Higher Education (DBH) – a database administered by the Norwegian Centre for Research Data (NSD). Other extra-budgetary accounts, such as financial statements from public research institutes, government controlled cultural institutions and various public funds, are collected individually – from the respective units’ webpage or via email.

Municipalities, county authorities, municipal companies (KF/FKF), inter-municipal companies (IKS) and joint parish councils are obliged to submit financial statements directly to Statistics Norway, via KOSTRA.

Accrued taxes on income and wealth are based on tax statistics for personal tax payers and tax statistics for companies. Government expenditures related to research and development are estimated on the basis of data collected and published by the Nordic Institute for Studies in Innovation, Research and Education (NIFU).

In principle, all accounts are included. In practice some minor accounts are not collected due to lack of resources or lack of total overview of the population.

Collection of data, editing and estimations

The classification of transactions in government finance statistics are based on information in the collected datasets. These datasets contain a classification of transactions by type. Taxes, fees and charges, interest revenue and dividends are all examples of revenue types – while wages and salaries, interest expense, transfers to other sectors and acquisitions of fixed assets are examples of expenditure types. In addition, most accounts contain a classification by function or chapter that gives details regarding the various purposes of government spending – health, education, culture, etc.

Controls consist mainly of checking that the accounts are in balance (i.e. that expenditures equal revenues plus financing). The individual accounts from public hospitals, municipalities, county authorities and joint parish councils are subject to a number of automatic checks when they are reported electronically to Statistics Norway. Remaining checks are done on a macro level and based on the applied characteristics.

When quarterly and preliminary annual figures are released, not all data sources are available. As a consequence, these releases are to some degree based on estimations.

Seasonal adjustment

No seasonal adjustments are made.


Not relevant.

Comparability over time and space

Government finance statistics are compiled in the same way, and according to the same framework, every year to ensure comparability over time. One tries to avoid substantial breaks in the time series by carrying out any large changes in connection with retroactive revisions.

For the central government minor breaks may occur, since the fiscal account's chart of accounts is often adjusted through resolutions in the Parliament. Breaks in the time series occur relatively seldom for the local government accounts, since the chart of accounts is established by the Local Government Act.

Accuracy and reliability

Sources of error and uncertainty

When quarterly and preliminary annual figures are, not all data sources are available. As a consequence, these releases are to some degree based on estimations.

For some revenue and expenditure items the specifications in the administrative registries or submitted financial statements are not good enough to satisfy the international requirements for detailing level. In addition, the chart of accounts is not always adhered to well enough.

In connection with the collected financial statements the respondents may sometimes misunderstand the questionnaires. In addition, errors can be made by Statistics Norway with regards to the classification of transactions by type or function.


When final figures are released, all accounts and other data sources are normally available and will replace preliminary figures and estimations. Taxes from the petroleum industry and gross acquisitions of fixed assets are among the items that, under normal circumstances, are revised the most from preliminary to final release.