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Saturday 22 September 2018
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PM challenges private sector

BREAKING GROUND: Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley (right) and executive director of Edan K Properties Limited, Nyal Khan, turn the sod for the Point Lisas business park project at Brechin Castle, Couva yesterday.

Saying this country is struggling to maintain its revenue streams, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley yesterday called on the private sector to “inject” their own resources to boost the economy.

One way of doing so is for private contractors to fund a block at the Port of Spain General Hospital. The block, the largest at the hospital, has been condemned since 2009.

“This government is required to replace that block,” Rowley said. “We do not have the cash to hire a contractor. Today we took a decision that we will do it by way of BOLT - build, own, lease, transfer.”

He was speaking at the project launch of the Point Lisas business park, phase one - a warehouse complex at Brechin Castle, Couva.

The park comprises an 80-acre industrial estate developed by Edan K. Properties Limited which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.

Rowley said the proposal is an opportunity for private contractors to build on the property at the hospital, own it, then lease it back to the government. The government intends to pay the instalments and over time, maybe within 15 or 20 years, the property returns to the State.

He explained, with a $93 billion national debt caused by significant borrowing in the last few years, the country moved from a comfortable situation, with respect to the public’s debt, to one that is quite worrisome.

Also at the ceremony yesterday were Edan K. Properties Ltd executive director Nyal Khan, Energy Chamber president and CEO Dr Thackwray Driver, president of InvessTT Christopher Lewis, TT Manufacturers Association vice-president Franka Costelloe and project manager at Hookmally Ali Ltd Jesse Basdeo.

Saying there is insufficient space at the airport in Tobago, Rowley said the “ANR terminal building” also needs the injection of the private sector.

“But as long as you own that money, or have the ability to raise that money, you are prepared to invest in your country because you have confidence in the future of this country. These models can take us out of the difficulties we are in today,” he explained.

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