STORY by SUNSHINE TODAY REPORTER
If all goes well, NCB Global Finance (NCBGF) should be once again striking it rich in Trinidad & Tobago, doing so in a way, while unethical, may not be illegal. The plan is supposed to work as follows: NCBGF buys out the government debts to certain institutions and companies at a rate of 70% of the value of the loan. When the loans are eventually repaid by government, NCBGF receives the full 100%. For example, if a government ministry owes T&TEC $100 million and is having difficulty in paying, NCBGF can step in and offer T&TEC 70 million dollars, which will represent full settlement of the Ministry’s debt. The 100 million dollars owed to T&TEC will now be instead owed to NCBGF which debt will be paid in full by the government. NCBGF would therefore have made 30 million dollars in profit.
At this time, there are state agencies and private companies that are strapped for cash due to the government’s inability to pay. To many, the proposal by NCB Global Finance is seen as a blessing, even with a 30% loss.
The sale and purchase of receivables is quite normal
On the other hand, if this scheme does get off the ground NCBGF believes that there will be no cause for worry to get payment from the government since its CEO is Angus Young, brother of Stuart Young, the latter being the Minister of Everything in Rowley’s government, holding such offices as the Minister of National Security and Office in the Office of the Prime Minister. It is also informative to note that Richard Young, former Scotia jefe and father of Stuart and Angus Young, heads an Investment Committee that works for the government of Trinidad & Tobago.
The sale and purchase of receivables is quite normal. The concerns however are whether the sale of the receivables was subject to a tender process and, if no, why not? If the discount is, hypothetically, 30% we would need to determine the cost of finance to the Government. If the receivables are due in one year then the cost of 30 million dollars per annum is outrageous. To establish the true cost of the financing then we must know over what number of years the receivables are to be collected.
All of this information, as it relates to the purchase of receivables from state agencies, should be disclosed to the public. This is the public’s business and there is no harm and a world of good in public disclosure.
This scheme raises a number of other questions, chief of which is the sudden rise in investments of this relatively small business whose asset base in 2015 was less than ninety million dollars, but which is now able to lend big money to government.
It has been reported that NCB Global Finance will make over sixty million dollars in profit from its latest loan to WASA; and another $244.5 million dollars in profit from a $1.5 billion-dollar bond granted to the government on March 16th 2020.
Four billion dollars – Questions and Concerns
Up to press time NCB Global Finance had loaned close to four billion dollars to the government with more loans being expected in the next few months as the date for the General Elections draws near. With regard to the four billion dollars, very often investment banks act as arrangers. In this case, NCB Global Finance, acting as the arranger sells off most of the bonds to other investors such as insurance companies and pension fund managers. In this case, more questions arise. Where is the Request for Proposals (RFPs) for the sale and purchase of these bonds? How many banks were invited to bid? Who did the evaluation? What criteria were used?
It appears as though the “Rowley/Young” government intends to mortgage the soul of this country to NCB Global Finance. The last government administration has been accused of all manner of crimes and sins. It will therefore be interesting to see if we will be privy to the number of financial transactions done by the present Government and its state agencies over the last five years. It will be interesting for the nation to see which are the banks that were successful.