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Water Today Title July 18, 2019

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Ernie Daniels, First Nations Finance Authority (FNFA)

[00:00:02] My name is Ernie Daniels. I'm president and CEO of the First Nations Finance Authority. We have our main offices in the West Bank, B.C. but we're a national organization. So what we do is we work with First Nation government, bands across Canada and we provide financing really low low cost financing for long term fixed rates and we also provide investment services. We do have an investment fund and we do provide capital advice to First Nations. Our financing is very unique. We're not like a traditional commercial bank, we operate quite differently. We're almost like a co-op. So First Nations come to us and with their investment opportunities or projects they want to undertake. Yes. So we've looked at cannabis opportunities for First Nations in the last couple of years and we've actually financed a few First Nations to get involved in it, from growing medicinal for medicinal purposes and also to be a retail seller. In this industry it's the provinces have jurisdiction over a lot of. And so it's the process to get involved in one province is not the same as in another province, so it's not uniform. So that's one of the issues and like I was up in the Northwest Territories the other day. And there, the government they actually haven't issued licenses to anybody. So they're planning on selling it through the liquor store system. I think Ontario is doing as well as a few other places. So that's the issue. There's no uniformity on how to get involved with this.

[00:02:04][121.4] [00:02:04] The individuals or the companies that have the licenses are looking for First Nations to partner with because there's an equity requirement. It's hard to get equity financing for these type of projects and because of our unique model we're able to provide equity financing to First Nations said that are looking at getting involved. Mind you we have quite a quite a process to get involved because they need to pass a number of tests before they can come and borrow from us because like I say, our borrowingis very unique. We issue our own debt, we go to the bond market ourself and based on credit ratings that we have. If you can actually simplify everything across the board it makes it easier for First Nations. That being said we have a First Nation that has approached us that looking to develop a facility in one province and then set up another one in another province. So you know in that regard there are some exceptions but I think just how the provincial government's going to handle this if if there's going to be preference given First Nations and then which I think you should be in the backing you're taking it backing from different levels of government to get involved in these projects and that would make a difference as well. What I've seen the average for a First Nation to get involved see at 51 percent equity interest into an operation. It's about a minimum of about 10 12 million dollars. Once it becomes like a regular part of the capital requirement because right now it's so new. So I think in the future. Yes.

[00:03:51][106.5] [00:03:53] Because right now I don't know how many companies, cannabis companies that is, that are operating and now that are raising money on the stock market or or even the bond market. It's probably very few. So once it becomes accepted because I don't know how the banks are getting involved as wel, the commercial banks; it's really more or more specialized lenders like ourselves. So I think that it will expand into other lenders as well in the future, like potentially you know the commercial banks will get involved too. It's a great opportunity because you're getting in at the beginning and you're not coming in later. Now what would be even better for First Nations, because the government is going to impose some tax on us, like they have tax on tobacco and alcohol and those type of things. If First Nations were able to share in that tax would be really beneficial for all First Nations. That's something that I think should be discussed and talked about because right now it is this those First Nations that get involved are going to reap the benefits. But when First Nations as a whole across the country get some benefit then getting a share of that that tax would be would be really good. [00:03:53][0.0] [227.9]