Thursday 23 November 2017

Builders with toxic loans in NAMA can bid for billion-euro state contracts

Michael Brennan Deputy Political Editor

CASH-strapped builders whose toxic loans are going into NAMA will be able to bid for state infrastructure projects worth billions of euro.

The revised capital spending plan,worth €39bn, includes projects such as Metro North, the DART underground, new schools and retro-fitting of houses with energy-efficient materials.

The Department of Finance has confirmed that the Government cannot discriminate in awarding of contracts even if a builder is going into NAMA.

"Just because they're in NAMA doesn't mean they can't bid for what work is out there," a spokeswoman said.

But, the firms looking to win the state contracts will need to be able to prove that they are financially strong enough to be able to carry out the project -- and show that their bank is willing to provide the loans needed.

Most of the major construction firms in the country are expected to tender for the new projects. Intense competition is expected for the contracts, which should see the State achieve savings of around 30pc on tender prices.

Although the Government said the capital spending plan would "support" 30,000 jobs for construction workers, the Construction Industry Federation director of policy, Martin Whelan, said last night that no additional jobs would be created as a result of the investment.

"The presumption must be that the reference to 30,000 jobs relates to those jobs that will be maintained, as opposed to created, as a result of the investment of €5.5bn in public infrastructure next year," he said.

Irish Independent

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