Hundreds of millions worth of assets from state company eTecK are to be sold. This was reported on Monday as the Joint Select Committee (JSC) on State Enterprises met with officials of eTecK and representatives of the Trade Ministry at the Parliament building. JSC chairman David Small asked if the asset sale required approval from the line ministry or corporation sole and if, in the best-case scenario, eTecK was able to realise the funds, what was the plan for the funds.
ETecK chairman Imtiaz Ahamad said the asset sale came out of a speech by Finance Minister Colm Imbert in 2016 when Imbert announced eTecK would be selling some of the assets under its remit. He explained the assets were not the existing park but undeveloped lands and one unoccupied building. He said the company had issued a tender which was won by a company and the business was well on its way.
Acting permanent secretary Frances Siegnoret said the approval for the sale came from the corporation sole and the corporation sole would also determine the use of the funds.
Small asked if proper valuations had been done to optimise value and whether the use of the land had been stipulated. ETecK vice president Corporate Services Maureen Singh said the up-to-date valuations in the report had been completed by a consultant early this year and under the eTecK lease the permitted use of the land was for industrial estate development and the lands would be sold for that.
Ahamad said the closing date for the company, awarded with the job, to bring forward proposals is September 30. Trade Industry director Policy and Strategy Randall Karim said the policy of the sale was to make additional real estate for the private sector as eTecK did not have the capital roll-out industrial development in all the areas. He explained before the State was building on these lands but it was best practice to get the private sector involved in building parks and also operating and maintaining them.
Small also asked why 99-year leases were still being issued in 2015 and 2016. Ahamad explained in 2011 the board had decided to put a hold on 99-year leases but it had been brought to the company’s attention, in the past, premiums had been collected and leases not executed.
He said eTecK received advice that it would be difficult not to issue the lease and therefore leases were granted in the past two years.