Written Answers. - National Treasury Management.

Seán Power

Question:

47 Mr. Power asked the Minister for Finance if he will consider extending the role of the National Treasury Management Agency to include semi-State companies; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11104/95]

Batt O'Keeffe

Question:

65 Mr. B. O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Finance if he intends to introduce legislation to ensure that all departmental and semi-State borrowings will be brought under the remit of the National Treasury Management Agency. [10524/95]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 47 and 65 together.

I have no proposals to bring forward legislation to give the National Treasury Management Agency statutory responsibility for the debt management of the semi-State bodies, local authorities, health boards or other agencies of the State.

The National Treasury Management Agency was set up under the National Treasury Management Agency Act, 1990. The principal functions of the agency are to perform, on behalf of the Minister for Finance, the functions of the Minister delegated to it by Order of the Government under section 5 of that Act. The functions that may be delegated to the agency are those relating to borrowing and management of the national debt. The national debt is the biggest portfolio of debt in the State and requires specific attention. The National Treasury Management Agency was set up for this purpose. The entire portfolio managed by the agency consists of State debt.

The debt of semi-State or State sponsored bodies, even when it carries a State guarantee, is not part of the national debt. The management by NTMA of the liabilities of such bodies does not arise under the 1990 Act. Some of the debt of these bodies carries a State guarantee. Were any such guarantee ever to be invoked or were such debt to be assumed by the State, thereby becoming part of the national debt, naturally it would fall to be managed by the NTMA.

My Department co-ordinates the borrowing activities of the NTMA and other public sector agencies involved in borrowing, such as the commercial semi-State bodies and the intervention agency. I issue formal guidelines to the NTMA and my Department seeks to influence the borrowing activities of the public sector bodies within that overall framework. The advice and expertise of the NTMA is already availed of by my Department in the performance of these functions.