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Tuesday, 14 June 2016 20:38

Enill in support of $2.5B HSF drawdown

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Former Finance Minister Conrad Enill supports the TT$2.5 billion withdrawal from the Heritage and Stabilisation Fund because he said "we have no money."

He spoke to the media following a Collective Agreement Signing between BIGWU and Eastern Credit Union where he was present in his capacity as the Credit Union's Group CEO.

"There is an academic conversation that is taking place and there's a reality. The academic conversation is what we should have done, what we could have done. The reality is this: we have a $23 billion deficit. We don't have money. In so far as the Heritage and Stabilisation Fund was concerned, they needed money for budgetary support and they determined at the time that it was required to pay bills. As far as I am concerned, that decision can be supported."

Mr. Enill, who also previously served as Minister of Energy and Energy Industries and is an Independent Energy Consultant, said this recession is different because the energy companies cannot contribute to the revenue stream for the next few years.

"As far as I am concerned at this point in time, the issue really is do we have a choice? The answer is no. In 2016, 2017 and 2018, we are challenged because the energy sector companies are not going to give us any revenues. That is as a result of the fiscal programme they are currently on. So we are going to have to find a way to survive and paying bills, in my view, trumps everything."

But he does not believe the government will be forced to dip into the HSF for a second time to prop up the economy.

"Well, he has available to him currently the ability to borrow and he is going to fund the deficit by borrowing that is also available to him. I think that on this occasion the reason that he didn't go there is because he has another problem which he hasn't talked about yet, which is the US currency issue. So that he used the Heritage and Stabilisation Fund to assist in that as well immediately and at the same time, to deal with budget support."

Mr. Enill said the Heritage and Stabilisation Fund was established for periods of depressed oil revenue.

Read 329 times Last modified on Tuesday, 21 June 2016 09:17
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