SOME $9.2 million!
That’s the level of exposure of the National Insurance Scheme to Government as it relates to the Four Seasons project.
NIS Chairman, Dr. Justin Robinson, has confirmed the figure to the Barbados Advocate in light of continuing efforts to have the project up and running.
He pointed out that the NIS had provided a loan of about $60 million to Government to inject into the project, which had been stalled for a number of years. However, that loan was contingent on funding which the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) had pledged to inject in Four Seasons.
Dr. Robinson said that once the IDB pulled out and was no longer interested in participating in the project, the NIS funds could not be drawn down.
Since its collapse in 2009 the Four Season project, which included the construction of a number of villas and a Hotel, has been very much in the news. The private sector project was given much priority along with such big ticket ones at Sam Lords, the Hyatt on Bay Street, and Sandals, since they had the potential to assist with the economic recovery in Barbados. However, work on the project is still to get off the ground.
Meanwhile, work is currently taking place on Sam Lords while the Hyatt should start some time this year, said the Prime Minister Feundel Stuart when he addressed a luncheon of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) in January.
In the meantime, the last Acturial Review of the NIS said that as of September 2016, total reserves stood at at $5.24 billion. The portion of National Insurance Fund invested in Government of Barbados securities was 75 per cent and that contribution and accounts receivables totaled $839.0 million. This year Government will be seeking domestic funding totalling $1.2 billion to finance the shortfall between Estimated Revenue and Estimated Expenditure.
Between April and December last year National Insurance funding of Government was very minimal when compared to the almost $300 million, which commercial banks lent to Government. (JB)