Salmond targets Qatar for cash

 

 

First Minister Alex Salmond
First Minister Alex Salmond

Published Date: 28 September 2008

ALEX Salmond is to ask a cash-rich Arab state to stump up billions of pounds to pay for desperately-needed upgrades to Scotland’s creaking road, rail and power networks.
The First Minister will head to Qatar next year with plans to persuade the oil-rich emirate to act as Scotland’s banker. Salmond wants Qatar to loan funds for massive capital projects the Scottish Government cannot afford, including the £4bn new Forth Road Bridge and a £5bn undersea electricity cable.

The plan – dubbed by critics a “Middle Eastern PFI” – would involve the Scottish Government paying back any loans over decades.

Labour last night warned the plan could lead to Scottish assets falling into the hands of foreign owners, who stood to make huge profits out of any investment.

But observers say Salmond has few options: the Scottish Government has too little surplus money in any year for major projects and the SNP has itself ruled out conventional PFI funding.

Governments across the Western world are looking towards the Middle and Far East to secure finance from their sovereign funds, the state-owned investment funds which nations such as Qatar have built up on the back of huge oil profits.

continue reading at……………………  http://scotlandonsunday.scotsman.com/scotland/Salmond-targets-Qatar-for-cash.4535661.jp

 

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