Ramaphosa: Banks must help nuclear bid

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Cyril RamaphosaANC Reuters. Cyril Ramaphosa. Photo: Reuters.

Cape Town - The country's financial institutions should assist government to cost and fund the intended nuclear build programme, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa suggested on Thursday.

Addressing members of the parliamentary Press Gallery Association (PGA), Ramaphosa said financial institutions should be proposing innovative financing packages to government for its infrastructure build the programme - including plans to build another nuclear power station.

“That all requires capital raising and we've got to come up with clever ways of raising capital,” Ramaphosa said.

“It is to this end that some of us have also been talking to financial institutions, not necessarily about this, but about infrastructure, and challenging financial institutions and saying to them come up with the finance packages.”

The country's financial institutions were in a unique position to cleverly craft financial packages for government which would not be too great a burden on the fiscus.

Ramaphosa said in his personal interactions with banks there were many complaints about government having grand ideas but not costing them.

“They were just saying 'Oh but you haven't costed them' and we said 'You cost them. You have clever guys with MBAs from Harvard and from Stanford and all that',” he said.

“...and they took it well and they said... 'we will come up with suggestions on how you can finance all these projects'.”

Planning for the nuclear build programme had to begin “yesterday” as the country faced serious energy constraints.

“We've got to ensure that we're not caught napping,” said Ramaphosa.

“We have an energy deficit now because we delayed to invest in energy and we don't want the same thing to happen (again).”

Investments in other forms of energy would also need to be increased.

“We relaxed as a country some years ago when we thought we were generating sufficient energy... and bingo as the economy started growing more and more... we ran out of energy and we were caught with our pants down.” - Sapa



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