Tuesday, 12 November 2002
Dáil Eireann Debate
91. Mr. O'Shea asked the Minister for Finance when the National Development Finance Agency will be established in regard to the commitment given in An Agreed Programme for Government; the proposed role of the agency; if concerns have been expressed by the EU regarding the agency; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21290/02]
The functions of the agency will include: providing advice to State authorities, including Government Departments, to assist them in evaluating financial risks and costs of infrastructure projects and facilitating them to avail of the best financing package for each project; maximising value for money for the Exchequer; assessing optimal financing for major infrastructure projects set out in the national development plan and other infrastructure priorities; and in some circumstances raising finance for projects including certain design, build, operate and finance public private partnerships, where this would be more  cost-effective than private funding and, in respect of conventionally procured capital projects, where there are clear benefits offsetting any increased cost of agency funding over Exchequer funding.
There is no obligation on the Government to request a view from the EU in relation to this legislation. The interest of the EU will arise in relation to the accounting arrangements for projects financed directly by the agency or through special purpose companies and how these arrangements might impact on the aggregates of relevance to the stability pact objectives, in particular the general Government balance and the general Government debt. The question of whether financing for projects will be on or off the general Government balance will be determined on a project-by-project basis by Eurostat.
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