Written Answers. - National Development Finance Agency.

Brendan Smith

Ceist:

116 Mr. B. Smith asked the Minister for Finance the projects the National Development Finance Agency proposes to finance, particularly in relation to the development of infrastructure; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19505/03]

On 1 January the NDFA was established. It will play an important role in advising State authorities on maximising value for money for the Exchequer by identifying the best financial packages and the application of commercial standards in terms of evaluating financial risks and costs for projects. It will provide a centralised expert service to all State authorities.

In February my Department issued guidelines to State authorities stating that projects in excess of €20 million need to be referred to the agency. In certain instances it may become involved in projects below the threshold value.

The advice which the NDFA will give, and the possibility of financing the projects, will depend on the circumstances of each project, including the current stage and method of procurement, the nature of the project and the original tender placed in the Official Journal of the European Communities, if applicable.

The level of investment that the NDFA will fund will be evaluated in the context of the overall approach to public capital investment. A rolling five year programme of investment will be agreed for all Departments and will consist of an Exchequer funded element and a PPP-NDFA element. The NDFA will operate within this framework.