08 May 2010

$8 million government loan to Kodiak under review

The provincial government is reviewing an $8.0 million interest-free loan made two years ago to Kodiak, according to the Telegram.

The cash was supposed to cover the cost of consolidating the company’s Canadian operations at Harbour Grace. As a result, and according to the official government news release, the work force of 170 at the boot plant in Newfoundland was supposed to increase by another 75.

Last week, the company slashed the Harbour Grace operation to 100, blaming a depressed marketplace.

092503pic1In the government hand-out photo, from left to right, Harbour Grace MHA Jerome Kennedy, Premier Danny Williams, then-business minister Paul Oram and then-innovation minister Trevor Taylor try on some Terra boots at the cash hand-out ceremony in September 2008.

The loan to Kodiak represents more than half the cash the Williams administration has managed to hand out to business since it announced its cash give-away programs in 2007.

Out of $75 million in total budgeted for the business attraction fund since 2007, only $14 million has actually been announced. In the first year, the government spent not so much as a penny of the $30 million initially budgeted. As the Telegram’s Rob Antle noted:

Other pots of cash set aside by the department to generate economic activity in the province have had similarly little take-up.

A "special initiatives" fund has doled out just $4 million of a budgeted $19.5 million over the past three years.

The department has budgeted an additional $7.75 million for special initiatives this year.


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