International Finance Corporation Bill, 1958—Second Stage.

Thursday, 10 July 1958

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 170 No. 3

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Minister for Finance (Dr. Ryan): Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  I move that the Bill be now read a Second Time. When I was speaking last year on the Second Stage of the Bretton Woods Agreements Bill, 1957, I indicated that the facilities of the International Finance Corporation were available to members of the International Bank for reconstruction and development and that the question of joining the corporation would be considered. The purpose of the present Bill is to enable Ireland to become a member of the corporation.

The explanatory memorandum which has been circulated with the Bill indicates the objects and activities of the corporation. Its Articles of Agreement, which comprise the Schedule to the Bill, contain the regulations relating to membership of the corporation, its capital, its operations, and its organisation and management.

The International Finance Corporation is an affiliate of the World Bank and only members of the bank are eligible for membership. In May, 1958, the World Bank had 66 members apart from Ireland and of this number 55 had joined or were in process of joining the corporation.

The activities of the corporation supplement those of the World Bank; it is designed to promote the expansion of private enterprise whereas the World Bank concentrates its operations in the public sector of the economies of its member countries. The corporation's aim is to demonstrate in concrete form that soundly conducted investment in the less developed areas can be highly profitable and by that demonstration to stimulate the flow of private management and capital into such investment. Its success or failure will be reflected not so much in the amount of its own operations as in the extant to which they encourage others to channel their resources into productive private enterprise in these areas.

[301] The first annual report of the corporation stated that the corporation would concentrate mainly on projects located in Africa, Asia, Australia, and Latin America. It is understood, however, that if Ireland becomes a member of the corporation, projects in Ireland will be considered as eligible for investment provided they will clearly and substantially contribute to Ireland's economy and are industrial in character.

The corporation has been in existence for only two years, a very short time in the life of an international organisation. However, it has already shown that it has many benefits to offer to its members and the wide range of its investment activities can be seen from the examples given in the explanatory memorandum. That the advantages of membership are widely appreciated is clear from the fact that over 80 per cent. of the members of the World Bank have considered it to be in their interests to join. In our case membership would help to encourage productive investment by private interests, both domestic and foreign. The possibility of obtaining financial assistance from this source should encourage the initiation of productive projects by Irish interests. Firms in the United States and other countries which would be reluctant to invest in this country on their own, might decide to do so if assured of assistance from an international financial organisation. Also the corporation acts as a clearing house for investment projects, bringing opportunities in the less developed countries to the attention of potential investors. It would, therefore, be able to bring opportunities for investment in Ireland to the notice of foreign firms seeking a profitable outlet for their funds. In all these ways membership of the corporation should prove a valuable aid in furthering our efforts to encourage productive investment in this country.

The explanatory memorandum indicates the financial commitments involved in becoming a member of the corporation. If Ireland joins she will be obliged to take up approximately 350 shares of the corporation stock and her subscription, therefore, will be of the order of £350,000. This compares [302] with subscriptions of £14.4 million by Britain, £753,000 by Denmark, £3,046,000 by the Netherlands and £421,000 by Finland. The corporation will be obliged to repurchase Ireland's shares if she withdraws from membership.

Apart from the obligation of subscribing to the capital stock of the corporation membership involves the granting of certain immunities and privileges to it. They are similar to those granted to the International Monetary Fund and to the World Bank by the Bretton Woods Agreements Act, 1957.

Before Ireland can become a member of the corporation it will be necessary for the Government to sign the Articles of Agreement of the corporation and to deposit with the World Bank an instrument setting forth that it has accepted the agreement in accordance with its law and has taken all steps necessary to enable it to carry out its obligations. This Bill is designed to give approval for the acceptance of the agreement by the Government and to provide the powers necessary to enable the Government to implement the agreement. The Bill follows generally the lines of the Bretton Woods Agreements Act, 1957, in so far as that Act relates to the World Bank. The purpose of the various sections is indicated in the explanatory memorandum.

Deputies who took part in the debate on the Bretton Woods Agreements Bill, 1957, all spoke in favour of joining the International Finance Corporation and I am, therefore, confident that the present Bill is one which will commend itself to both sides of the House.

Mr. Sweetman: Information on Gerard Sweetman  Zoom on Gerard Sweetman  As the Minister has said, this is the natural conclusion of the Acts passed last year. The amount of the subscription by Ireland to the corporation is comparatively small and I would be interested to know on what basis these subscriptions are calculated. I found it rather difficult to appreciate that from the agreement and from the explanatory memorandum.

The difficulties with which we are faced in the sphere of financing our [303] projects are perhaps difficulties that are connected more with “know-how” than with finance itself. I do not think that in relation to new means of production—and I stress “new”—there would be the same difficulty in providing finance for them here ourselves if they were really productive. It is not that void that requires to be filled so much in the Irish economy. The void which requires to be filled in the Irish economy is the void in connection with the finance to develop the “know-how” that we have not got. We want foreign investment more in risk capital than by way of foreign loan. We want people who have the technical “knowhow” and technical means of distribution and sales abroad, that we have not got and cannot hope to have, to interest themselves in starting productive enterprises here and either to back those productive enterprises by their own capital, foreign capital, or have them backed by something like the foreign underwriting business that is involved here. I appreciate it is not underwriting in the technical sense of the term, but I am using it in this very broad sense.

In so far as the corporation is of assistance to foreign firms in giving them the stability they require for investment to back their “know-how” in Ireland, I think it will have a beneficial effect. Nothing, however, that we do in this respect or in any other respect can get away from the fact that the solution of our problems remains one for ourselves and depends on our channelling our own savings towards productive rather than unproductive enterprises. We may have an opportunity in a few minutes on the Finance Bill of dealing with that in its wider sphere. Frankly, I feel that the real need we have in relation to foreign capital is not what one might call loan capital to industry, but rather risk capital to industry backing a “know-how” which we have not got here, but which the people who have that capital are prepared to support with it.

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  I also wish to welcome this Bill and to congratulate the [304] Minister on its introduction. It represents another significant and important step along the line of developing our financial and economic institutions and adjusting them to meet the requirements of our economy. This Bill is a very natural sequel to our joining the World Bank. It has, however, this important and significant difference from the Bretton Woods Agreement Act that the International Finance Corporation will be concerned to stimulate investment in private economic activity.

We are frequently told by various people, councils and institutions that there is too much concentration in this country on public investment activity and that too little attention is being devoted to the private sector. In so far as this Bill is directed towards remedying that defect, if it exists, it is all the more welcome.

This International Finance Corporation will direct all its efforts towards stimulating investment in private enterprise. It has been said often enough, and it is true, that our problem is to raise the general level of economic activity to the point where it would involve all our resources in productive employment, thereby providing jobs for our people at home. That is the aim and the objective.

I think it is true to say that no matter what expansion we can achieve in agriculture, it will not provide the necessary amount of jobs required. The whole trend is that the modern development of agriculture leads to lesser rather than greater employment. We must, of course, devote ourselves continuously to expanding and increasing agricultural production. Nevertheless, we must recognise that the raising of the number of jobs available to the level we require can come only from industrial activity. In so far as this Bill is directed along those lines, it is a very important measure.

The problem of raising economic activity to the level required is, as Deputy Sweetman pointed out, to a great extent, a physical one. However, while it is primarily the physical task of creating the necessary expansion of production, we must at the same time keep our financial institutions continually [305] under review and keep an eye to see whether they are at all times adjusted to the needs of our own economy. In so far as that is a problem, I think we must all agree that the Minister is doing very great work in this regard. Since assuming office, he has a very impressive list of legislation to his credit. He introduced the Industrial Credit Company legislation. He brought about the tax incentives to industrial production. He brought in the Trustee (Authorised Investment) Act and the Bretton Woods Agreement Act which gave us the necessary authority to join the World Bank. In addition, we have the Encouragement of External Investment Bill.

When we look at that picture, we must agree that in a short time the Minister has made very important and significant changes in our financial establishment in bringing it into line with our needs and requirements. It is obvious that he is doing what is required in keeping our establishment under continual review and seeing to it that changes required from time to time are brought about.

I think that, with this Bill, the Minister will have created an excellent financial framework within which industrial development can take place to the maximum possible extent. In so far as he has done that. I think he deserves the congratulations of the House.

Mr. Sweetman: Information on Gerard Sweetman  Zoom on Gerard Sweetman  For pulling the trigger of the gun that was aimed before he got there. He is entitled to those congratulations, certainly.

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  Deputy Sweetman will realise that I have been in this House only since February, 1957. All these measures have been passed in my time.

Mr. Sweetman: Information on Gerard Sweetman  Zoom on Gerard Sweetman  It does not matter. I have made my point.

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  I am sure I am entitled to congratulate the Minister on these significant and important measures which have been introduced by him in the short time that I have been in this House.

There is one matter which I should like to raise as I have not been [306] able to find out about it. With regard to the activities of the World Bank, they are disposed to provide only that portion of the amount required which is required in foreign currency. In other words, if you have a project and it requires your own and foreign currency, they will usually lend to you only to the extent you require foreign currency. I do not know if that applies to the International Finance Corporation. I could not imagine that it would but I should like the Minister to explain the position.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon  Zoom on James Matthew Dillon  Deputy Haughey rightly says his recent arrival in this House entitles him to take a detached view. I do not suppose it very much matters who initiates desirable legislation, so long as Oireachtas Éireann enacts it.

I am sure the Minister himself will be anxious to say to the House that these Bills were in draft—particularly the project of joining the World Bank and, I think, the Bill we disposed of before we embarked on this one. It is as a result of that that unanimity in adopting this important legislation is evident. It is no harm that the public should know that significant measures of this kind pass rapidly through the House when it is true that the principal Opposition are intimately familiar with their provisions because they themselves were responsible for drafting them. It might suggest a measure of legislative irresponsibility if we passed important measures of this kind in relatively few minutes unless the public knew the background of our legislative procedure, which permits the degree of ready agreement which will be forthcoming for this Bill.

Anything which helps us to get capital for development in this country, whether it be agricultural or industrial, is good. If you can make capital work to bring unemployed men and unappropriated raw materials together to produce a commodity or a service which can be economically sold, then you are doing good work, but you have to bear in mind that there is a very clear distinction between the employment of capital for the purpose of bringing men and raw materials together for the provision of what can be profitably [307] sold, and the employment of capital to bring them together for the purpose of providing a new amenity of which society is glad to avail, if and when society can afford it.

I cannot doubt that the purposes of this legislation are primarily designed to make capital readily accessible to us for the promotion of economic enterprise, that is, industrial or agricultural undertakings, in the wide meaning of those terms, which will employ our people in the processing of raw materials for the production of an end product which can be economically sold. There is, however, a snag. The Minister for Industry and Commerce tells us, and rightly, I think, that the expansion of industrial activity for the supply of the home market is largely realised, and that there is not very much scope in that field, and that hereafter the output of industry must be directed towards export markets. I want to direct the attention of the House again to the fact that that problem has been under protracted consideration by successive Governments. It presents an extremely stubborn circle of difficulty, because in order to embark on large-scale industrial production for export, you must have export markets, but in order to get a marketing organisation in a wide export field, you must have the wherewithal to supply the market you create.

I myself have had experience of persons filled with zeal rushing out to create a foreign market by offering goods for sale on terms and conditions which were attractive and then returning, with an order book full, to find they had not got the machinery wherewith to supply the demand they had created, and then developing the machine to supply that demand and returning to their disappointed customers to tell them that, though they had failed to deliver on the first occasion, they were now in a position to do so, only to be told that their failure to deliver on the first occasion had created an atmosphere which made it impossible for the buyers to entertain their tenders, lest they fail again; and instead of developing a useful service [308] which they had hoped and intended to develop, in fact they had done great damage because they had made it impossible for anybody to enter those markets as a result of the disappointment caused by their failure to perform, in the first instance.

I want somebody to tell me how that vicious circle of markets and supply is to be broken, and I have not heard anybody advance proposals to do it, other than the proposals I mentioned in this House. Unless we can get some persons who have in existance effective marketing organisations and supplies to meet the orders these marketing organisations can create to establish branch factories here and throw into their total volume of sales the output of their branch factories here, I cannot see how we are to break into the fiercely competitive foreign markets of the present time; whereas I am satisfied that if you get a number of such factories established here intimately connected with existing marketing organisations, you not only get the employment they themselves directly supply, but I believe there would grow up around them quite a number of relatively small ancillary industries supplying components and parts of the finished product of the branch factory.

I say that advisedly, because I have seen more than one instance of it. I saw a factory producing wallboard in this country brought to the verge of ruin, not through any defect in the quality of its product, not through any shortage of raw material or skilled processing, but because when their product was manufactured, they could not get access to the mass market that existed for it; but the moment they came in contact with an international firm which was dealing in that product, their entire output passed into consumption without the slightest difficulty, and that Irish factory is now in the process of having its capacity doubled. That all came to pass because overnight, as a result of amalgamation, it had made available to it a great international marketing machine.

I know at the present time that if we could acquire the services of the existing international marketing organisation for dried milk and milk [309] products. our entire milk surplus could be absorbed profitably, and a great deal more. I know that there are hundreds of thousands of tons of dried milk being sold all through the Orient and the Tropics and that the demand is not half supplied. If we had the marketing machinery to make contact with those remote places where there are highly specialised conditions, both as to language and practice, there is a market there that would absorb all the milk we could process; but to get those contacts or to enter those markets is extremely difficult, and some of those who have access to them have acquired over a century of mercantile experience in those areas. I do not want to go into too great detail of the kind of problem which confronts somebody who seeks to sell in these conditions, but they are formidable, highly technical, and in many cases quite exotic, and could be understood only by those who had direct contact with the problem in the course of trade.

Deputy Haughey spoke with admiration of the Minister churning out his Bills here. It is terribly easy to churn out Bills. It is terribly easy to set up a commission to investigate market problems, but what no Deputy in this House will face is that it is relatively easy to find out what a problem is but the difficult thing is to find out the answer. I know, and I knew when I was Minister for Agriculture, that there was this vast market for dried milk in the Orient and Africa and I tried to break into it. We actually shipped dried milk to the Orient but you run up against the most extraordinary problems if you have not the right contact, if you do not know the appropriate way of dealing with the residents of Bangkok.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish  Zoom on Brendan Corish  And if you have not got a big cheque book.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon  Zoom on James Matthew Dillon  I do not want to be too specific. I said that if you do not know the appropriate way of dealing with the residents of Bangkok, you may deliver better dried milk than a well established mercantile firm in that area is providing, and yet be told that your dried milk did not stand up to [310] the temperature of the climate and had been rejected. When you have 100 tons of dried milk sitting in Bangkok and you cannot pronounce your agent's name, and you do not know whether it is a man or a woman, and the public health authority in Yenyong has stated that the dried milk does not come up to the standard specification of the public health authority of that subdivision of the southern territory of the northern jurisdiction, you ask your agent “what do you propose to do about it?” He says: “There is not anything you can do about it except authorise them to sell the milk at one tenth of the price at which it was originally consigned.”

You may know that somebody is putting his finger in your eye but it is very difficult to deal with it unless you have the established organisation which permits you to send “Lip Chang” up from Singapore to deal with “Lip Hok.” If you have that organisation “Lip Hok” is not likely to put his finger in your eye because he knows “Lip Chang” would not put up with it. I am trying to explain to Deputies that is quite illusory to imagine that the existence of these markets is not well known, that the difficulties of penetrating them have not been experienced in the hard school of experience, and I am quite prepared to learn from anybody, including Deputy Haughey, that there is some fairy touch which can be employed, once we have passed all these Bills, which will open out all these markets to us.

However, like the man from Oklahoma I want to be shown; I do not want to be told. My experience, and I have a good deal, is that these problems are heartbreaking and frustrating. Naturally, if you invite a group of co-operatives to put up 100 tons of dried milk and they have once that experience, they are going to be very chary about attempting it a second time. Therefore, while I agree with Deputy Haughey that it is very necessary and desirable to complete this programme of legislation I have got a pragmatic mind. I am not more interested in dreams and aspirations; I want to put men to work, and the only [311] way I know of putting men to work is to get factories which will produce goods which will be profitably sold, and in my submission, the most difficult part of that programme is the profitable selling.

All these institutions are available to us and available to anybody who comes here to collaborate with us in this perfectly simple job, stripped of all the irrelevancies, of putting Irish people to work in Ireland.

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  Would the Deputy not agree that the tax incentives would be an incentive to the very firms he is talking about to come here?

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon  Zoom on James Matthew Dillon  I think they are. You will find them all set out in Deputy Costello's programme for progress which was laid down in his speech in Mill's Hall in 1956. The fact that we have all agreed upon them is eminently desirable and, if we proclaimed them first in public, that does not make it any less creditable to the Fianna Fáil Party that they so quickly learned the wisdom we imparted.

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  And improved on them.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon  Zoom on James Matthew Dillon  And improved on them. When a sinner is introduced to repentance, if he does more than the minimum penance imposed on him, it is a matter for us all to rejoice together, and I join my voice to that of Deputy Haughey in saying this sinner has returned to penance and done more than the minimum penance imposed on him.

Mr. Davern: Information on Michael J. Davern  Zoom on Michael J. Davern  You can never take the trousers off a Highlander, no more than Fianna Fáil could learn from Fine Gael.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon  Zoom on James Matthew Dillon  I do not want to show any disrespect for the Minister for Finance. I am always in favour of treating Ministers of State with deference and respect and they deserve it. Now that all these resources are available to us, I want to renew a suggestion to the Minister for Finance that I have already made to the Minister for Industry and Commerce. It is not enough to pass all these Bills. It is not enough to make capital available. What is important [312] is that we should proceed to put these facilities to work. I think we want help in that and I believe the help is available if we go and look for it.

I want to put it to the Minister for Finance that his Government should approach the Government of the United States and suggest to them that, now that all these facilities have been, by our legislation, made available here in Ireland, it should be worth while persuading any group of public-spirited industrial entrepreneurs in the United States, who have an interest in access to the Free Trade Area, and indeed an interest in access to the European market and to the African market, that they should establish branch factories in this country on exactly the same lines as Bowaters have established a branch factory in Athy.

We should point out that all the credit capital facilities available in any country in the world are available here. We should point out that the supply of labour is abundant and that successive Governments have given abundant evidence of their earnest desire to help and that, more important perhaps, it is in the process of being established in this Oireachtas that our principles of fiscal legislation correspond accurately with the fundamental principles acceptable in Great Britain and in the United States of America itself; and that, with these considerations in mind and bearing in mind that in the present condition of the world Russia is the protagonist of exclusive State control and the United States of America is the protagonist of individual liberty and free enterprise, it would be worth America's while, rather than to offer great monetary benefactions to this country, as she has so generously done in other parts of the world, to use her immense resources to give a demonstration before the world of what free enterprise can be for a community which is prepared to help itself. I do not believe it will cost anybody in the United States of America a penny; on the contrary, it would be a most profitable investment for them if they but tried. But I can well imagine that the natural inertia that deters prosperous enterprises from setting up foreign branches has to be overcome.

[313] I do not want Deputies to think that I am simply dreaming dreams and that this is all a figment of my imagining, which rational persons could not be expected to consider. I understand that this scheme is already operating and that a group of public-spirited manufacturers in the United States of America have combined to attempt this very programme in the Middle East. But, there, they are confronted with the chronic instability of the Middle-Eastern situation, and I should not be surprised if the difficulties there proved too great for the project at present in progress.

But if an analogous project were launched in respect of Ireland, I believe all the conditions are here present for its success and, to me, its immense attraction is that, apart from the fact that there would be a substantial bloc of employment for our people created here, under good conditions and with the industrial and marketing “know-how” indispensable to success, I am convinced that each one of these would evoke smaller ancillary industries of the kind which our system is peculiarly qualified to produce, operate and maintain to the very great benefit of the economic life of the country as a whole. I should be glad to know from the Minister if, having cleared the ground for such development with this series of Bills, he and his Government propose to take any positive action to resolve the strictly pragmatic problem of actually putting men to work in factories, manufacturing commodities for profitable sale on foreign markets.

Mr. Russell: Information on George E. Russell  Zoom on George E. Russell  Like other Deputies, I welcome the co-ordination of efforts by different nationalities for their mutual benefit. In this regard, I think we should participate with the other nations set out in this long Schedule on page 17 to promote mutual interests. However, it would be wrong to imagine that this Bill or this proposed finance corporation or any other similar institution will be a panacea for all our ills. I subscribe to the belief that our difficulties here will be either solved or not solved inside the shores of our own State. For that reason, the ordinary laws we enact here, the lead we give [314] to the people outside and the conditions we create in this House are, in the first instance, the essential prerequisite for any prosperity or advancement in our country. After that, we must rely on the individual and collective efforts of our people to provide prosperity and an expanding economy here.

Having said that, I should like to ask the Minister to elucidate a few points on which I am not quite clear. There is a list of 56 countries on page 17 which, between them, are to subscribe or have subscribed—I am not quite clear on that point—100,000,000 United States dollars. Earlier on in the same document on page 4, Section 2 (a), it says:—

“The authorised capital stock of the corporation shall be 100,000,000 dollars in terms of United States dollars.”

Has the capital been subscribed already without our contribution, or is there room for Ireland to contribute its share of the capital? I do not understand that. This country's name is not included in the list of 56 countries set out in this Schedule A at the end of the Bill. Furthermore, Section 1 of Article IX says:—

“This agreement shall enter into force when it has been signed on behalf of not less than 30 Governments whose subscriptions comprise not less than 75 per cent. of the total subscriptions set forth in Schedule A.”

Again, the name of Ireland does not appear in Schedule A. Possibly, there is a very simple explanation for it.

There is another point. In Section 3 are set out what are termed operational principles. These are an important part of the Bill, because they indicate, as I said, that this proposed corporation cannot be taken in any way as a panacea or solution for our financial difficulties. Amongst the principles set out in this section are the following:—

“(i) the corporation shall not undertake any financing for which in its opinion sufficient private [315] capital could be obtained on reasonable terms.”

I take it from that that we will have to prove that sufficient private capital is not available either inside or outside this country? I do not think there is any doubt that, given a proper enterprise showing a reasonable return for the private investor, the capital can be got in this country. One of the reasons it has been difficult to get capital for some enterprises is that the private investor has not sufficient faith in the undertaking. That is one of the reasons so much of the privately owned capital here by citizens of this State is invested outside the country. The private investor appears to think that capital invested in Great Britain or elsewhere gives a better and safer return than capital invested in his own country. That is an unfortunate truth, but I am afraid it is a truth. If that is so, is it likely that this finance corporation will regard us as being short of capital which can be obtained on reasonable terms?

It says, in (iv) of the same section:—

“The corporation shall not assume responsibility for managing any enterprise in which it has invested.”

I was not aware from the Minister's introductory statement or the memorandum that the corporation was to assume responsibility for any enterprise.

Again, (v) says:—

“the corporation shall undertake its financing on terms and conditions which it considers appropriate, taking into account the requirements of the enterprise, the risks being undertaken by the corporation and the terms and conditions normally obtained by private investors for similar financing.”

I do not see indicated anywhere in the Bill the terms and conditions of any loans or other assistance which a private investor may require from this corporation. In other words, the corporation, in theory, might be a very useful instrument for the supply of finance, but the conditions may be so onerous or the terms so difficult that [316] it might not be worth a private investor's while to avail of it. Perhaps the Minister would elucidate these matters in his reply. I believe that our prosperity depends on our own efforts, beginning in the Dáil here and ending outside the House; and no amount of argument will convince me that any external boards, commissions or corporations will help us, if we do not try to help ourselves, in the first instance.

Mr. McQuillan: Information on John McQuillan  Zoom on John McQuillan  I maintain that there is a complete air of unreality in this discussion. The first sane comment was made by Deputy Russell. He pointed out the major snags which could develop as a result of applications under this Bill for financial help towards industrial development. The objection that lies to Section 3 is one that cannot be overcome by arguments here or outside. There is sufficient private capital available here to meet many of the proposals which could be brought into operation under this Bill.

Why should we give the International Finance Corporation power to make loans to private enterprise here, when that capital is available in Ireland? At the moment, it is being exported by private individuals, who have no confidence in State or national development. We really cannot blame the private individual for his lack of confidence, as we have the example set by the Central Bank itself, the big exporting agency for capital. If the Central Bank finds it desirable to invest the greater proportion of its capital outside this country, can we expect the private individual to invest his capital here?

Under this Bill, we are asking an outside body—begging them, at a later stage—to give us financial assistance for industrial development, on the basis that we have not sufficient capital available in Ireland—while we are pouring out that capital every day of the week. That is why I say there is an air of unreality about the discussion.

Deputy Dillon was perturbed and worried that we had the raw material and the unemployed men and suggested that if we wedded the two for the production of a saleable commodity, we might solve the problem. We have the unemployed men, plenty of them, and [317] we have the capital; but at the present time we are allowing both to be exported. A much simpler procedure and a more practical step, would be for the Minister to put a small Bill through this House that would control the export of Irish capital, led by the Central Bank itself.

I do not want to be critical of the Bill itself. I want to point out the unreality attaching to the discussion. I hope nobody here is under any illusion as to what this Bill is likely to mean in the future. The solution of our internal problems must lie within the country. The manpower is here and the capital is here; what we want is the intelligent direction from the top, and that has been sadly lacking for years past. At this stage, all we can find as a solution here is people holding out their arms to beseech America to come here and invest money here, to save Ireland. I think that is nauseating and disgusting, at this stage.

So far, in regard to all the efforts made by people inside and outside the House to get help from America and elsewhere, we have got very doubtful results. I hope the people and Deputies will realise that the major ills which face the nation will not be solved by measures that pass through this House, like this one, with a welcome all round. We are not facing realities when we base our hopes for the future on whatever results may be achieved from measures like this. Our security and our welfare as a nation will depend on the efforts put by the people into the development of the country and also on the capital available, which is being exported at the moment, being diverted back here for the expansion of Irish industry.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  The Minister, to conclude.

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  To commence with the points raised by Deputy Sweetman, the subscription is based on the same formula as our subscription to the World Bank. That was a very complicated formula, indeed, taking into account national income, external trade and holdings of gold and dollars. I agree that we do not need foreign capital, as such; what we do need is the technical knowledge that may come with foreign [318] capital and I think that is what any of us has in mind in framing a Bill of this kind. We find it difficult to organise the production of certain goods here, because we have not got the knowledge; and we need foreigners to come in to give us the necessary knowledge. The easiest way—I myself think, anyway—to get foreigners to come in is to get them to come in with their money.

It is true that this corporation will not put in the risk capital which Deputy Sweetman talks about. They will not give a loan, but they may on the other hand give to a project the stability that we need. If there are people in America or elsewhere who have knowledge of a certain project and money to invest, and if they see that this organisation has examined the project and is prepared to put money into it, they may be prepared to come and put their money in without further inquiry, as they will know that the necessary inquiries have been made. In that way, it may have a good effect in getting capital to come here which is accompanied by the knowledge of the particular project that may be necessary.

Those people, of course, will subscribe by way of loan, but the idea is that if the project then becomes successful, there would be an issue of shares to cover repayment of that loan, and the shares would be made available to the people here at home, on the assumption that the project would carry on and be successful in the future.

Mr. Sweetman: Information on Gerard Sweetman  Zoom on Gerard Sweetman  A form of underwriting?

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  Yes, I suppose you could call it that. Deputy Dillon prefaced a speech he made on the Finance Bill by saying that he saw no way of developing further industries here for export, except by getting somebody to come in and establish branches here, somebody with a marketing organisation. No doubt, that would be the easy way to get it done, but it may not be possible to get such people to come in. To pursue that policy and say: “We cannot do anything except in that way” would be just to end up in despair of [319] developing our industries. Whatever grip people may have on world markets, it must be admitted there are always new people coming in. There is no such thing as anybody having a monopoly of the world market. There will always be new people coming along. We have experience of that in this country over the past few years. We have industries here which were doing only internal business up to a few years ago and are now building up trade on the foreign market. It may be small, but the combined effect of a number of these is fairly substantial. I think we should pin our hopes on such people, that they may be able to do better in the future. Naturally, I should be only too delighted to accept the suggestion of Deputy Dillon that some organisation which has world markets at its disposal would come in to establish a plant or a branch here.

I was asked by Deputy Haughey about currency and I think I can best answer that question by reading a few extracts from this book issued by the International Finance Corporation.

“The IFC”

—as it calls itself—

“will normally pay out to the enterprise being financed the full amount which IFC has agreed to invest, either in a lump sum or by agreed instalments. But IFC will also be prepared to consider commitments to put up funds at some future date, subject to an appropriate commitment commission. The funds so provided by IFC will not necessarily be restricted to payment for any specific goods or services but will generally be freely usable by the enterprise for its business purposes. Accordingly, the amount of IFC's participation will not normally be measured by the foreign exchange requirements of the enterprise.”

Then it goes on to say:—

“IFC in its early years may often think it prudent to make investments expressed in U.S. dollars. But whenever a sound case is presented IFC will be prepared to make loans in other currencies if it is satisfied that other aspects of the investment, [320] including any rights of conversion into capital stock or shares, can reasonably be expected to outweigh the transfer and exchange risks which IFC might incur by lending in such other currencies.”

I have given those extracts just to show that a very flexible policy is being pursued and that they intend to pursue a flexible policy in regard to currency.

Mr. Sweetman: Information on Gerard Sweetman  Zoom on Gerard Sweetman  Is that in the Library?

Mr. Russell: Information on George E. Russell  Zoom on George E. Russell  It will be now.

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  It is not published here. I shall try to get a copy for the Deputy.

Mr. Sweetman: Information on Gerard Sweetman  Zoom on Gerard Sweetman  I should be glad if the Minister would do that.

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  Going back to Deputy Dillon—we seem to have a bit of difference of opinion here sometimes about who is responsible for certain things. The Fine Gael Party appear to look on it in this way: they say that when they were in they did things they had to do which were hurtful to the people and when we come along and try to remove these things, they say: “We were responsible; we made it possible for you to do it.” That is a soothing sort of policy to pursue and we hope it gives them certain satisfaction.

Nobody would be so foolish—I do not think, as far as I caught what Deputy Russell said, that he accused us of it— as to think that this or any other measure was a panacea for all our troubles. We have difficulties, as I suppose nearly every other country has, but our difficulties must be tackled from many angles and by many proposals. Indeed, I think we may admit some of these proposals may be absolutely useless, but we must keep on trying and this measure may be useful in solving our difficulties to some extent. If it goes a little part of the way towards that, we shall have achieved something.

Deputy Russell was somewhat puzzled about the amount of subscriptions in the Schedule to the Bill. It tots up to $100,000,000, but actually there are countries that have withdrawn. [321] I should not say they have withdrawn: they never went on: they intended to go on but did not. Yugoslavia was one of them. The amount of capital now subscribed is $90,000,000 not $100,000,000, and therefore there is room for other countries to come in to make up the $100,000,000 again. The terms vary to some extent and will necessarily vary with circumstances. We could not expect them to put down set terms which they would follow on all occasions. The only thing we can say in regard to that is that a number of countries have negotiated loans through this corporation and they must have been satisfied in regard to the terms. If the necessity arises for us to borrow from the corporation, we may consider its terms suitable or we may not. We must wait and see.

Deputy McQuillan came back to the old fallacy—if you like to call it that —of Clann na Poblachta about foreign capital. Foreign capital cannot be brought back here—I mean our own capital invested outside the country— except by way of goods. In any case, it would be no good to us in notes and we can return it only by way of goods, whether consumer or capital. So far, we have never had any difficulty about getting whatever capital was required here for capital purposes, and the fact that we have brought in a Bill of this kind which gives us the opportunity to borrow from a foreign corporation, first of all, does not necessarily mean that we will ever need to go to them and, secondly, if we do need them, it does not follow that we would be absolutely short of capital, although indeed it might happen. If there is very big development here—which I hope there will be—we might not have enough capital of our own to pay for the foreign equipment and machinery necessary for such development.

I think there should be no objection to joining this corporation. It gives us the right to apply, if we think well of it. We subscribe to the capital there. We are quite entitled, if they do well, to get interest on what we subscribe. We have the right at any time to withdraw and say: “We want our subscription back.” We can withdraw from the corporation if we think [322] it has not turned out to be as beneficial as at the moment we expect it to be.

Mr. Russell: Information on George E. Russell  Zoom on George E. Russell  I should like to ask the Minister a question. I notice that on page 16 in Section 2, paragraph (c), it says: “This agreement shall remain open for signature until the close of business on December 31st, 1956.” Is that correct?

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  If the Deputy reads paragraph (d), he will see it shall be open to any country whose membership has been approved pursuant to Article II.

Mr. Sweetman: Information on Gerard Sweetman  Zoom on Gerard Sweetman  The other clause is only for the original signatories.

Mr. Russell: Information on George E. Russell  Zoom on George E. Russell  Will the terms and advantages of this agreement be made available to industrial and other commercial enterprises?

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  Yes, they will.

Question put and agreed to.

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  I have a small amendment to move on Committee Stage. Perhaps it would be better to leave it until next Tuesday.

Mr. Sweetman: Information on Gerard Sweetman  Zoom on Gerard Sweetman  As the Minister wishes.

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  It is only a one word amendment—really a figure.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  The amendment is being circulated.

Mr. Sweetman: Information on Gerard Sweetman  Zoom on Gerard Sweetman  We cannot alter any part of the Schedule if that is the first agreement.

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  No, we cannot alter the Schedule.

Mr. Sweetman: Information on Gerard Sweetman  Zoom on Gerard Sweetman  The rest is only legalising the Schedule.

Agreed to take remaining stages to-day.


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