Sunday, 27 November 2011

NWT needs cash- debt of "$380-million is paying itself off through the territorial housing & power corporation..." Miltenberger

"... The delay of the contentious Keystone XL pipeline is good news for the Northwest Territories in its decades-long bid to get a natural gas pipeline built, its new premier believes.

Bob McLeod, a former industry minister who was appointed premier last month under the territory's cooperative style of government, has spent much of his career pushing for the Mackenzie Valley gas pipeline. His territory needs it now more than ever.

The government is near its federally imposed debt limit, facing an infrastructure crunch and is anxious for a deal on "devolution," which would hand province-like control over resources and land down from Ottawa.

In short: the NWT needs cash, and a massive pipeline would be a boon.


The territory's books, meanwhile, are in flux. The NWT had a borrowing limit of $500-million set by Ottawa, which temporarily extended it to $575-million recently. The territory is nearing that new limit.

"We're in negotiations with Finance Canada. In the meantime, we're going to manage our way through this," NWT Finance Minister Michael Miltenberger said. "We're on the right side of 575. And we have enough flexibility left to make it through this fiscal year."

Of the debt, $380-million is paying itself off through the territorial housing and power corporation, he said, leaving the territory in an enviable position, if it had control over its resource revenue. A devolution deal would add $60-million to territorial coffers per year, a significant figure for a sprawling region of 43,000 people. "A borrowing limit is important, but devolution for us is really the next step in our political evolution," Mr. Miltenberger said...."


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