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Monday, May 29 2017 @ 03:01 PM AST

Key takeaways from the 8th Public JSC Meeting with the Finance Ministry

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GzR-L1Awock

* The only (usually) profitable state-owned companies are (min.8, ag PS Phillips):
- First Citizens bank
- Plipdeco
- NGC
- TSTT
- NFM
- Clico Trust Corporation
- TGU
- TTMF

* Govt paying Caribbean Airlines loans for the company

* What happens if a state-owned company borrows money without authorisation from the Finance Ministry? Nothing really. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GzR-L1...p;t=29m37s

* Current $19 billion state enterprise debt is near the record highest ever. In September 2016 it was $20 billion

* Major holders of T&T debt are banks and non-bank financial institutions like the Unit Trust

* Violations of state enterprises manual enjoy impunity https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GzR-L...p;t=51m55s
Independent Senator David Small: The manual, the wonderful document we have, it seems to be a document that we can wave around, but because it has no legal force, entities have been able to navigate around it, for want of a better description. So entities have been able to navigate around the manual and because there is no legal force to the manual, then you almost have no penalty to apply. So I would like to understand (1) has the ministry ever considered having this being formalised in a way in which legally it can come into force; has there been any discussion, consideration by the ministry to say, 'Listen, this manual is an excellent document that would keep entities in line and also what it's missing is penalties because people are able to do things and just get away with it. They write a report, explain the reasons why they do it, but nothing happens to them, and because of this lack of accountability, you find that things happen over and over again because there is no penalty being applied, so I would like to understand if the ministry has ever considered (1) trying to see how, whether or not some consideration could be given to the existing manual framework to have it, the State Enterprises Performance Monitoring Manual, to have it become something more formal, more structured with weight and with penalties."

Acting PS Lisa Phillips: "Yes, to my knowledge there has been consideration but that has not gone forward. We will bring it to the fore again, and it will be considered again, so that the document could have more weight."

Adrian Leonce asked what recourse the ministry now has if it has no one on the board to ensure monies spent are accounted for.

Phillips responded: "A lot of the responsibility for the monitoring lies with the line ministry to ensure that the money is being spent for the purpose given, and the ministry of finance, through reading of the board minutes will get some information but that information is often dated, so we are a bit impotent as it concerns that."

Leonce asked what she would suggest.

"Chair just indicated that having an officer on the board,

* Investor apathy in the system because of high liquidity https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GzR-L...p;t=75m04s

* Government should not be borrowing for recurrent expenditure but for investment https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GzR-L...p;t=78m04s (ag PS Suzette Lee Chee) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GzR-L...p;t=91m30s Again https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GzR-L...p;t=94m30s

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