Sinanan: Borrowing can be good if $ used well

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Works Minister Rohan Sinanan – ANGELO MARCELLE

WORKS and Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan says there is nothing wrong with borrowing if the money is used wisely.

Sinanan made this point during his contribution to debate on a motion to increase the statutory limit of borrowings under the Developmental Loans Act from $65 to $75 billion. The House of Representatives passed the motion on March 15.

Responding to claims from Opposition senators Wade Mark and Jearlean John earlier in the sitting that the move was related to an early general election, Sinanan said, “Borrowing is not a bad thing if you use the money for the right reason.”

He added that evidence of this can be seen in completed and ongoing infrastructural projects.

Sinanan dismissed a reiterated claim from Mark about an extension of the Churchill-Roosevelt Highway to Sangre Grande as a “highway to nowhere.” Government senators thumped their desks when he declared, “That is a highway to somewhere.”

Sinanan, who is also a deputy PNM political leader, cautioned Mark and the UNC that if they do not learn, they will feel. “An election will be called soon. There are real people living out there.”

Sinanan said every road in TT was being upgraded or rebuilt on a phased basis, once funding is available.

He was confident that additional funding for infrastructural works would become available to his ministry when the Senate passes the motion.

Sinanan reminded senators that governments seeking to increase the borrowing limits under the Development Loans Act is not new, and the UNC-led People’s Partnership coalition increased the limit between May 24, 2010-September 7, 2015.

He supported Energy Minister Stuart Young’s position in dismissing claims by former Republic Bank Holdings Ltd chairman Ronald Harford that Government has no energy policy. Harford made the claim at a meeting hosted by the TT Chamber of Industry and Commerce at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Port of Spain on March 13.

Sinanan said, “That is rubbish.” He added that Government’s securing of a 30-year license to explore and develop the Dragon gas field in Venezuela and increased shareholding in Atlantic LNG proved Harford’s claims to be wrong.

Reiterating his earlier point that borrowing was not a bad thing, Sinanan said, “Go and ask Mr. Ronald Harford if borrowing is a bad thing.”