State Enterprises owe $44 billion …”PNM DEBTS”

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It is crystal clear that the $44 billion in debt by the 39 State Enterprises was racked up mainly on projects started by the PNM when in Government.

This is contained in a September 2017 Joint Select Committee report which examined the borrowing practices of State enterprises, with an emphasis on regulation of borrowing, purposes for which funds are borrowed and sustainability of debt servicing ratios.

In the report, focus was given to the quantum of State enterprise debt, the sustainability of the current debt obligations, the purpose for which monies are borrowed and the mechanisms in place to monitor and evaluate state-owned companies that have borrowed funds.

The major debts came from the Urban Development Corporation (Udecott) and the Petroleum Company of T&T (Petrotrin) together accounted for more than half of $44 billion debt.

Udecott’s debt of $11.4 billion included a $3.5 billion loan financed by Republic Bank Ltd for the the Government Campus Plaza fit-out project and another $496 million from First Caribbean International Bank for the fit-out of Government Campus Plaza.

Udecott also still owes $497 million on a 2009 loan from First Citizens Merchant Bank for the controversial Brian Lara Cricket Academy in Tarouba. That stadium was opened months ago and hosted a number of matches including the semi-finals and finals of the Caribbean Premier League in September.

The second highest debtor, Petrotrin, still owes the Deutsche Bank of Canada US$750 million and Bank of America US$850 million.

The T&T Mortgage Finance (TTMF) owes $5.5 billion, and the National Insurance Property Development Company (Nipdec), needs to repay a $4.3 billion loan.

The National Gas Company (NGC) was lent a total of $4.2 billion, with US$200 million being borrowed in 2004 for the “Cross Island Pipeline” project. The amount is to be repaid by 2020.

The Telecommunications Services of T&T (TSTT) services a total of 12 loans amounting to $2.2 billion.

The National Infrastructure Development Company (NIDCO) borrowed $ 2.1 billion, with $1.5 billion going toward the refinancing of the Point Fortin Highway Project and the total in to be repaid by 2031.

The JSC was chaired by Independent Senator, David Small.
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