A total of $2.7 billion will be borrowed from the local banking sector over a three-year period to fund rehabilitative and infrastructural projects throughout the country by the Ministry of Works.
Works Minister Emmanuel George disclosed this at the post-Cabinet news conference at the Office of the Prime Minister, St Clair, yesterday.
George pointed out that out of the record largest budget of $54.8 billion, the Works Ministry was allocated $749 million—most of which was already spoken for in terms of projects.
He said given the amount of work to be done and the limited resources, the Cabinet agreed to borrow additional money.
The Cabinet, he said, was provided with a listing of all the roads, bridges and landslips that require works over a three-year period and that demanded some $3.9 billion in funding.
Of this sum, George said Cabinet agreed to supplementary funding to the tune of $2.7 billion.
Some $1 billion will be borrowed in 2013, $850 million in 2014 and another $850 million in 2015.
George, when questioned, said the Ministry of Finance will borrow the money from the local banking sector and therefore Parliament did not need to grant its approval.
Asked if this sum will contribute to the country's $7.6 billion deficit, he said: "When you borrow you do indeed add to the debt to GDP ratio, but it's spread over a very long payback period of sometimes 20 to 25 years."
As to why this amount was not included in the national budget so as to ensure collective Parliament approval, George said: "The Minister of Finance has a serious challenge coming from all of the demands being made on his revenue and he couldn't possibly cater for all of the very urgent needs of the country."
He said the ministry had requested $3 billion and all that was allocated was $749 million.