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Govt in $1.8 billion loan pact with China’s Exim Bank

Saturday, March 16, 2013
Zhu HongJie, left, vice-president of China’s Exim Bank, presents an abacus to Finance Minister Larry Howai following the signing of a loan agreement at the Trinidad Hilton yesterday. PHOTO: KEARRA GOPEE

The Government yesterday finalised a $1.8 billion loan agreement with China’s Exim Bank for construction of the Couva Children’s Hospital, as well as six sporting facilties acrosss the country. “Our mandate to Minister of Sports Anil Roberts is to ensure that we get value for money and that the projects are properly managed and come in on time and in budget,” Finance Minister Larry Howai said.



He was speaking yesterday at the signing of the agreement at the Trinidad Hilton yesterday. “Effective for now we start the process of marketing these facilities internationally so that we can generate the revenues we are looking to see that would come from these investments and to ensure that the facilties are fully utilised. Those are the main concerns I have. On the hospital side, we hope that it is completed on time and within budget,” Howai said.


He described the current situation where residents of Couva have to go to San Fernando for medical care as “inefficient and costly.” “The Couva Children’s Hospital is an essential part of our national infrastructure and human development plan. This hospital will provide state-of-the-art medical services, not only to the children, but to the 300,000 people who will access its facilities. It has 150 adult beds and will house a burn unit. 


“The hospital will also be used for multi training facility for medicine. It is also being constructed with a helipad on the rooftop for easy access in times of emergency,” he said. China’s Ambassador to T&T Yang Youming praised this country’s close relations with China and said the soon-to-be-opened T&T Embassy in Bejing was a proof of that. He also said there is a “trickle” of tourists to T&T which he hopes will increase in the future.


“I hope it grows to a stream and the stream eventually grows into a river,” the ambassador said.


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