The Trinidad Guardian / The prospectus for the National Investment Fund (NIF) will be issued today, one day later than scheduled, but Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley is encouraging citizens to invest in the bond offer which he describes as “the gift that keeps on giving.”

In a CNC3 Morning Brew interview yesterday, Dr Rowley said while Government had initially proposed to offer shares in the NIF, further analysis revealed that bonds allow for individuals and institutions to invest and get an ongoing return.

He said prospectus for the investment was to have been issued yesterday, but there was a hiccup with one of the regulatory agencies.

He encouraged citizens to invest saying NIF comprises companies with “solid assets with a good record of performance.” It comprises shares from Republic bank, WITCO, One Caribbean Media, Angostura and Trinidad Generation (TGU).

“It is their earnings backing an investment that you make in a pool with their shares, that is as good a risk as most investors would take,” he said.

“These are among the best shares in the economy and you getting it with guaranteed earnings, not dividends, because you buying bonds, whatever bonds you buy are guaranteed.”

The bonds, which can be purchased for $1,000 or in multiples of $1,000, are being offered in three tranches with high interest-five years (4.5 per cent), 12 years (5.7 per cent) and 20 years (6.6 per cent).

The investments which make up the NIF were transferred to Government from CL Financial and its subsidiaries. Dr Rowley said Government was happy to make the recovered assets available in a way that the wider public can benefit.

He described them the “blue chip assets of the country” and because Government had used taxpayers money to bail out the Clico empire,the decision was made to have some of the assets used in this way.

Responding to critics, Dr Rowley recalled that when the Unit Trust Corporation was started there was similar scepticism but that venture is now successful with thousands of investors.

Regional credit rating agency CariCRIS has given the bond issue a double a rating. Dr Rowley said the agency would have taken into account “that this is a good idea, the economy will benefit, it increases and spread the wealth of the country.”

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