Parliament's finance committee yesterday approved the bill authorising a R60billion loan to Eskom to help fund its power station building programme.
The loan was announced by Finance Minister Trevor Manuel in February, and was to have been spread over five years, but the economic climate is now such that the loan has been "front loaded" so that it is spread over only three years.
Manuel told MPs that the bill is necessary because the Treasury cannot act like a bank. "We don't own a bank, so we can't just give a loan," he said. He added that the government was capitalising a state enterprise that was not accustomed to accepting transfers from the state.
In addition, the Treasury is planning to give guarantees on other loans that the power utility is proposing to raise. - I-Net Bridge