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N.W.T. debt rule change good for infrastructure spending: finance minister

The N.W.T. government is welcoming an upcoming change to the way its debt is calculated by the federal government, saying it will give the territory more financial wiggle room to invest in much-needed infrastructure.

Conversion of first 150 km of ice road to diamond mines among infrastructure projects eyed

The N.W.T. government is welcoming an upcoming change to the way its debt is calculated by the federal government, saying it will give the territory more financial wiggle room to invest in much-needed infrastructure.

On Tuesday federal Finance Minister Joe Oilver announced the territory's borrowing limit will be increased to $1.3 billion, up from $800 million.

During a press conference Wednesday, the N.W.T. government said that, in addition to debt cap increase, "self-liquidating" debt will no longer be counted against the cap.

Self-liquidating debt refers to short- or intermediate-term debt that is paid off with money generated by the assets it is used to purchase.

"It will allow us to look at projects, big projects, like the all weather road to Mackay Lake, converting [that portion of the] ice road to an all weather road," said N.W.T. Finance Minister Michael Miltenberger.

"If we work with industry, that will help us make it self financing. We can do that and not have it go against our borrowing limit."

Premier Bob McLeod said there is at least $200 million worth of debt from the Northwest Territories Power Corporation that could no longer be counted in the borrowing limit.

Debt from the Deh Cho Bridge could also be removed from the borrowing limit if the government can show that the tolls are paying off the loan, added McLeod.

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