CHAIRMAN of the Clico Policyholders’ Group Peter Permell expressed cautious optimism after hearing the mid-year budget review by Finance Minister Colm Imbert, commending his efforts to recover debts owed by institutions Clico and the Clico Investment Bank (CIB).
Permell told Newsday yesterday, while he was satisfied with government’s efforts to promote responsible management of funds while ensuring transparency and accountability, he was concerned over Imbert’s failure to disclose how much was owed to shareholders.
“It seems that he has made some significant headway in terms of recovering the debts owed by Clico and Clico Investment Bank.
However, he was conspicuously silent on how much the balance was owed.
“While he made mention that significant amounts were recovered, he was not sure on how much was still owed and how close we are to a final resolution of the financial debt that has to be repaid. I would hope sometime shortly he would provide us with additional details on how much money is still owed by CIB, by CL Financial and the holding company.”
Despite this, he lauded Imbert for his proactive approach to initiating the National Investment Fund (NIF), which he said would allow for greater transparency than what was observed under the former People’s Partnership administration.
Citing the sale of the Valpark Shopping Plaza in Valsayn and No Man’s Land in Tobago to unknown buyers, Permell said the fund would not only allow greater equity by allowing citizens of all income brackets the opportunity to buy units, but also restore public faith in the government.
“We had raised concerns over transparency and accountability over the disposal of these assets and I think it was in his last budget statement he said that he understood these concerns, where they said they would be setting up the NIF, where the assets were going to be placed, and the units would be made available to the public.
“This NIF also allows for a widening and deepening of the domestic capital market and affords all citizens an opportunity to participate in the wealth the government has acquired.”