15 Jun 2004

Nauru Cabinet Minister says a refinancing package is nearly ready

4:03 pm on 15 June 2004

Nauru's Minister for island development and industry, Remy Namaduk, says they're on the verge of signing off their refinancing package.

He says the government's priority is to pay back its debt to General Electric Capital Corporation, which appointed receivers to control the assets of its trust fund, including property.

The government's total debt to the U.S. firm is 165 million U.S. dollars.

One of the hotels in the property portfolio is on the market to be sold.

Mr Namaduk says an option they are now seriously considering to refinance their debts, is to revive their phosphate industry.

He says if they don't act now, there is no point planning for the future.

"We need to put a cap on that , otherwise by the time we're ready GE would have taken all the meat of the skeleton, we'll be left with a skeleton. Through the receivers, they're selling off the properties like crazy. So that's well progressed, its well on its way. We've got our refinancing package ready but were still considering other options, to see if we can come up with anything better. 20"

Remy Namaduk says there are also other properties not tied up with GE that they can rent out or sell to pay off the debt.

He says they need to find the best possible solution and consider other creditors and government expenditure.