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Ministry Departments

Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs - Iceland

Minister's Secretariat

Permanent Secretary: Hermann Sæmundsson 

The Minister’s Secretariat co-ordinates the Ministry's activities and prepares and follows up on the priorities set for its activities. The department handles issues related to the Minister's agenda, preparation of meetings and matters concerning the Minister's parliamentary duties. It is primarily responsible for relations with Alþingi and its institutions and the development of administrative procedures within the Ministry in general. The department deals with specific and temporary solutions and priority issues that the Ministry handles, in co-operation with its other departments and/or other ministries, as the case may be. It also carries out specific and general analyses of the Ministry's functions and maintains an overview and monitors the work of project groups that are established and whose work involves various departments of the Ministry. This department, as other units of the Ministry, provides objective and professional advice and support to the Minister on a day-to-day basis.

The Administrative Department 

Director: Guðrún Ögmundsdóttir 

The Administrative Department supports the internal work of the Ministry and its development in close cooperation with senior administration. It handles the Ministry’s operations and finances, human resources, internal quality control, support services and planning/ The department coordinates the presentation of the Ministry's policies in those fields and functions for which it bears responsibility. It oversees budget appropriations for areas for which the Ministry is responsible. It carries out operational supervision of the Ministry's institutions as well as their strategic planning and performance management. The Administrative Department directs human resources work and is responsible for recruitment, determining salaries, training and professional development. It is responsible for quality issues, archiving and the Ministry's project records and supervises its communications, media relations and publications.

The Department of Economic Affairs

Director: Tómas Brynjólfsson

The Department of Economic Affairs oversees the preparation and follow-up of the government's economic policy, the co-ordination of macroeconomic management, and the presentation of financial and economic management issues domestically and abroad. To that end, the department assesses economic trends and prospects and communicates with Statistics Iceland on the preparation of national economic forecasts. The department handles the preparation of economic reports and scenario analyses, monitoring of economic parameters and communication with international ratings agencies and various international economic institutions, including the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). In addition, the department deals with matters concerning the Central Bank of Iceland, to the extent that they fall under the auspices of the Ministry, as the case may be, in co-operation with other Departments the Ministry.

The Department of Financial Services

Director: Guðrún Þorleifsdóttir

The Department of Financial Services deals with financial market issues and prepares legislation and regulations in this field. This includes the regulatory framework on financial undertakings and supervision, issues concerning securities markets and -funds, deposit insurance and the Depositors and Investors' Guarantee Fund, consumer mortgage credit, insurance and insurance activities, natural catastrophe insurance, payment systems and payment services. The department prepares legislation on foreign currency, interest rates and indexation, as appropriate, in collaboration with other departments of the Ministry. The department also handles issues related to financial stability and preparedness for financial system difficulties or shocks, which includes participation in the work of the Financial Stability Council. In addition, the department is responsible for matters concerning financial supervision of the Central Bank, as well as issues concerning pension funds, general legislation on their activities and the administrative tasks that arise from this. 

The Department of Fiscal Affairs

Director: Jón Viðar Pálmason

The Department of Fiscal Affairs prepares fiscal policy based on the statutory core values of sustainability, prudence, stability, consistency and transparency and numbered fiscal regulations. The department directs fiscal policy formulation, longer-term fiscal planning, budgets and supplementary budgets, both within the Ministry and for other ministries. This includes preparations for the setting of overall public sector objectives, including for scope, performance, debt and debt development, and for public entities as a whole. It entails, among other things, responsibility for co-ordinating the fiscal strategy of the state and local authorities. The Department of Fiscal Affairs also prepares specific fiscal measures and follows up on the priorities of the Minister and the government regarding Treasury finances. The department directs collaboration with other departments on the development and operation of the Ministry's databases and interconnected computational models used in its strategy and planning, including the budgeting system of the ministries and the Icelandic parliament Alþingi. It also reviews the ministries' assessment of the financial impact of government bills, regulations, agreements and other government measures and evaluates agreements and other obligations that cover a period longer than the annual budget. The department directs work on spending reviews to assess efficiency and performance and clarify priorities regarding the allocation of public funds. It also analyses the long-term fiscal outlook and developments in public finances as provided for by law.

The Department of Taxation

Director: Helga Jónsdóttir

The Department of Taxation formulates policy in tax matters and other government revenue generating activities. The department prepares tax legislation and drafting of bills and regulations in the field of taxation, taking into account the strategic planning of government finances and economic affairs in general. This includes legislation on direct taxes, VAT, customs and excise duties. The department reviews the assumptions and estimates the effects of tax changes before it prepares bills and revenue budget for the Treasury. The department prepares the adoption of overall targets for the Treasury’s revenue generation and sets out long-term plans for the development of revenues in co-operation with other departments of the Ministry. The department oversees the preparation of the budget's revenue plan each year and performs supervision of collection from and development of individual tax and revenue sources. The department is responsible for the preparation of double tax- and data exchange agreements with other countries as well as interpretation of such treaties.

The Department of Public Management and Reform

Director: Jón Gunnar Vilhelmsson

The Department of Public Management and Reform deals with the government's financial management and operational matters, credit matters, reform actions, property and construction, and strategic planning in human resources and compensation. This includes financial and liquidity management, funding and Treasury debt management, supervision of the implementation of the budget in co-operation with other departments of the Ministry, assessment of the situation of the Treasury and individual government entities, together with the development of operating budgets and financial statements. The department works on reform and innovation in the state's operations and its institutional structure, strategic planning and performance management, development of digital infrastructure, use of IT in public services and administration, procurement, state aid issues and relations with the private sector. It handles questions concerning state assets and construction projects, including company ownership, and the preparation and implementation of the state's ownership policy for its limited liability companies and partnerships. The department manages state holdings in real estate and land and contracts for the use of their resources. Its responsibility includes formulating strategy for the state's human resources and issues concerning the rights and obligations of state employees, collective bargaining agreements, wages and pensions of state employees and analyses of manpower needs and salaries.

Remuneration and Human Resources (KMR)

Director: Jökull Heiðdal Úlfsson

Remuneration and Human Resources (KMR) is a special Ministry institution, cf. Art. 17 of the Act on Government Offices. As part of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs, its remit covers the state's human resources, including providing advice and support to ministries and other government agencies regarding human resource management, provisions of legislation on public employees and the implementation of collective agreements. Remuneration and Human Resources also handles career development and continuing education of state employees and questions concerning managers and executives. It collaborates with employees' organisations and local governments on wage and salary issues as well as labour market reforms.

KMR has led the state's negotiation committee in negotiating collective bargaining agreements. Its director is a public official in the meaning of Act no. 70/1996, on the Rights and Obligations of State Employees.

Digital Iceland

Director: Birna Íris Jónsdóttir

The Icelandic government aims to make digital services the main means of communication between its agencies and the Icelandic people, as it can simplify processes for all. Digtial Iceland, operated by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs works towards these goals across all ministries and government agencies. 

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