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Dookeran blames legislation for Clico payment delays
Finance Minister Winston Dookeran says the passage of legislation remains the only obstacle to payment to Clico depositors owed in excess of $75,000. He was responding to questions from reporters at yesterday’s post-Cabinet news conference at the Office of the Prime Minister, St Clair. He added: “The only remaining matter that has to be resolved is the legislation to issue the bonds so that we can commence payments for the over $75,000 (investments). “And I am still searching for a way in which the discount rate for such bonds to be better than we had first indicated.”
He said the closure of Parliament was affecting the passage of the required legislation. He said the bill could be approved only when Parliament resumes. He said a ‘compassionate’ window already has been established and more than 200 people have benefited as a consequence. That provision allows for people over the age of 75 to access $250,000 “for compassionate relief, mostly medical.” Dookeran said the Government was about to finalise with the Central Bank the liquidity window to be accessed by trade unions, credit unions and other institutional investors.” He said the relevant funding was being put in place to ensure it could be accessed shortly.
He added that $1 billion was being allocated for that initiative. Dookeran said there had been some improvements in the performance of Clico’s shareholding in methanol and Republic Bank. He said CL Financial remained “in a very difficult position.” He said there were two additional matters requiring his direct attention: the $4 billion gas subsidy and an operating deficit at T&TEC of $500 million. He said the Government is committed to dealing with the gas subsidy. He denied either a reduction in the subsidy or a hike in the price of the commodity to the consumer was being considered at this time. Dookeran said instead, he was seeking to get a loan to finance the subsidy.
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