“Ridiculous and absurd” – Finance Minister reacts to opposition leader’s comments on NIF

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Finance Minister Colm Imbert has brushed aside recent comments made by Opposition leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar regarding the Government’s National Investment Fund (NIF).
Earlier this week, during a public meeting, Persad-Bissessar claimed that the NIF is a Ponzi scheme and urged the public not to invest in NIF bonds.
“She was very fast and loose with her language. The very idea of referring to the NIF bonds as a Ponzi scheme is absurd. I would even say it is childish coming from the Leader of the Opposition. Childish and unpatriotic. Ridiculous, dangerous assertions, baseless, groundless, irrational statements coming out of the Leader of the Opposition, said Imbert during Thursday’s post Cabinet press briefing.
Imbert, who is also acting Prime Minister said Persad-Bissessar’s statement was highly irresponsible, reprehensible and “disturbs the country’s equilibrium and poisons the mind of the little people” from benefiting from this tremendous opportunity.
He noted that anyone who is familiar with a Ponzi scheme would know it is a form of fraud.
“It’s an illusion. In a Ponzi scheme, you trick investors into investing into an imaginary product. You don’t have the money to repay them.”
The Finance minister noted that in the 2018 national budget he made it clear that in order to meet expenditure targets, the government would rely upon the recovery of Clico’s assets using the NIF to generate capital revenue of TT$4 billion.
“For reasons best known to herself, the Opposition Leader has tried to undermine the national budget, because she is bad mouthing the NIF that is going to be launched on July 15.”
He said if Persad-Bissessar’s propaganda campaign against the NIF works in a small way, “it can undermine the budget and the ability of the country to operate.”
The Finance Minister said while Persad-Bissessar tried to paint the NIF in a bad light, she had offered no suggestions as to what could have been done to the Clico assets.
In her address at the public meeting, Persad-Bissessar called on Imbert to address the ten NIF concerns she raised.
She also questioned why Government was borrowing from the public by way of bonds instead of selling shares to the public as promised .

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