Committee on Finance. - Agricultural Credit Bill, 1965: Committee and Final Stages.

Sections 1 to 3, inclusive, agreed to.

I move amendment No. 1:

In page 2, before section 4, to insert the following section:

"The amount, or the aggregate amount, of principal which the Minister may at any one time be liable to pay on foot of any guarantee or guarantees under subsection (1) of section 5 of the Act of 1961 for the time being in force, together with the amount of principal (if any) which the Minister has previously paid on foot of any such guarantees and which has not been repaid by the Corporation shall not exceed twenty million pounds and, accordingly, subsection (2) of that section shall be construed as if that sum were substituted for the sum mentioned therein."

The purpose of the amendment is to make it possible for the Minister for Finance to guarantee borrowings, principal and interest, should the Agricultural Credit Corporation borrow money from sources other than the Exchequer. The Bill as originally drafted empowered the Corporation to borrow anywhere they could get money but did not provide for the guarantee of the Minister for Finance. I think it is necessary, in order to enable the Credit Corporation to get money from sources other than the Exchequer, to have the Minister for Finance's guarantee and this amendment so provides.

Is this a brand new provision? They never had this power before?

They had, up to £10 million before. Unfortunately through an oversight, the guarantee did not follow the increase to £20 million.

From what other sources have they borrowed?

They have not. They had the power to borrow from co-operative societies.

They had the power, and there are a few other sources.

Did they ever avail of other sources?

I believe they did.

But not from the banks.

The farm credit bonds of course, which are guaranteed, and State mortgage stocks, apparently, are others, but it is no harm to let them have the whole wide world open to them if they can get the money.

Like the ESB.

Amendment agreed to.
Question proposed: "That section 4 stand part of the Bill".

I wonder could the Minister indicate at this stage what kind of machinery would be adopted in relation to the extended power to accept deposits and what rate of interest would be paid on deposits and, if it is possible for the Minister to indicate that, how is it envisaged that this additional power will be exercised by the Corporation?

I understand that the Corporation have not yet addressed themselves to that problem, to the particular mechanics of operation. They simply want the power and having got it, they would see under what terms and in what circumstances they can go ahead.

Question put and agreed to.
Sections 5 to 11, inclusive, agreed to.
Title agreed to.
Bill reported with amendment.
Agreed to take remaining Stages today.
Bill received for final consideration and passed.