25/08/2010

NAMA Applauded At Stormont

There has been high-level support expressed for the work of the Irish Republic's National Asset Management Agency, (NAMA) and its impact on NI finances.

The Stormont Finance Minister, Sammy Wilson has met with Frank Daly, Chairman of NAMA and Peter Stewart, Chairman of NAMA's Northern Ireland Advisory Committee together with members of the Committee to discuss progress and future work.

Speaking afterwards, Mr Wilson (pictured) commented on the way in which the agency is handling the so-called 'toxic' assets across Ireland: "Without NAMA we might have had a catastrophe.

"With NAMA we have the opportunity to manage our way through the process.

"The first two tranches of loans transferring to NAMA have totalled some €27billion with banks receiving approximately €13billion of securities.

"To this extent money is flowing again and banks must make sure that this money in turn flows to businesses and generates economic recovery," he said.

He was speaking just hours after the Irish Republic had its credit rating downgraded by a leading ratings agency, Standard and Poor's (S&P).

S&P fears that the growing cost of propping up the country's troubled banking sector will further weaken the Dáil government's finances.

It now thinks that the Irish government will spend €90 ($101bn; £74bn) helping the banks, €10bn higher than previous estimates.
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Minister Wilson was speaking after what was the first of many such regular meetings following the establishment of the Northern Ireland Advisory Committee in May 2010.

"This was a very timely meeting as NAMA have just completed the transfer of the second tranche of loans from their participating banks.

"The first of the Northern Ireland based loans have now begun the transfer process and this involvement will increase rapidly between now and the end of the year.

"Ultimately, loans with a nominal value of approximately €5 billion will transfer from Northern Ireland and the role of the Northern Ireland Committee will become increasingly important," he said.

"I emphasized the strategic importance of NAMA's work for our economy and NAMA representatives assured me again that there will be no 'firesale' of assets and that these will be carefully managed over the medium term.

"Our Northern Ireland Committee representatives will have a key input to that process," he continued.

"For my part, I agreed to ensure that the NAMA Northern Ireland Committee representatives are kept informed of NI Executive decisions, e.g. plans for disposal of further assets to ensure that there is coordination of activities and avoid flooding the local market with land sales, and that we should examine how this close co-operation could be extended to the ongoing work of the banks."

(BMcC/KMcA)

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