Finance Minister Colm Imbert needs to learn the details of a government to government loan, Barataria/San Juan MP Dr Fuad Khan said yesterday.The opposition parliamentarian has accused the new adminstration of trying "to stink up" the Couva Children's Hospital, a flagship project of former People's Partnership government.
"Imbert makes it look as though we took money and was spending it wildly and so on and I find that to be very dishonest and stupid," Khan said.He was responding to comments made by the minister during the Standing Finance Committee meeting on Saturday. Imbert said he planned probe $239 million spent on the hospital which was supposed to be a fully-funded project by the Exim Bank of China.
However, Khan said international loans operated on a 15 per cent/85 per cent arrangement, where the lender provides 85 per cent of the total cost. He Exim Bank loaned the T&T government 85 per cent of $1.5 billion for the hospital and "at the end of the day" the project cost about $1.9 billion for construction and equipment.
"When I first entered the ministry, I researched how government to government loans run so I understand," he said. "They may know we spent $239 million but they don't know it's based on the 15 per cent."Khan said calculations would show that 15 per cent of $1.5 billion was around $240 million and those funds were used up front to get the project underway.
"Loans from China take about a year more to come through, so while it was being processed, the last administration used its 15 per cent to develop the infrastructure around the area," he explained.
Khan said if he had been at Saturday's session, he would have dealt with it then.