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Loan Authorisation Bill passed in Parliament

Loan Authorisation Bill passed in Parliament

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The Loan Authorisation (Bank of Nova Scotia) Bill 2013, which gives the government permission to borrow money amounting to US$4.5 million and US$740,741, was passed in the House last Thursday.{{more}}

According to Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, who moved the motion, the money will be used to purchase cement mixer trucks, three fire tenders and an ambulance – all to be used at the international airport site at Argyle.

Gonsalves explained that the vehicles are being purchased through Oshkosh company, and that while the mixers and the ambulance were straight forward, the fire tenders needed to be ordered at least one year in advance.

“We need one year in respect of the fire trucks for them to be produced,” the Prime Minister explained.

He said that he had been advised that the trucks may be delivered after six or seven months, but it may take the full year before arriving.

The appropriate specifications have already been sent to the company, Gonsalves said and these were done under the special advice.

“And this was why I wanted to deal with this matter today, as we will have the legislative agreement to deal with the issue,” Gonsalves told the Parliament.

Leader of the Opposition Arnhim Eustace, during the debate on the Bill, raised the same concern he did when Parliament met earlier this year, to pass a Bill for the approval of loans for the completion of the international airport.

Eustace said that there were some concerns about whether or not the sums being borrowed would be sufficient to complete the airport, or would there be the possibility that the Government may need to come back to Parliament for approval to borrow more money.

“I understand that, in fact, these are to be used for specific purposes, but I want a perfect picture if we are getting to the end of the borrowing,” Eustace said.

He explained that this was a legitimate concern, as there were other areas, such as the banana industry, which warranted some attention.

But the Prime Minister, in his final comments, said that when he had come to Parliament earlier this year, he had indicated that the airport project would require a further US$80 million (EC$208 million) to complete. Of the amount needed, US$20 would come from the sale of lands in Canouan, and US$40 million in a loan from the Alba Bank. The remaining money was to be acquired through loans, one from the Export/Import Bank of Taiwan, and the other a commercial loan. (DD)

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