VICTORIA – The Province has concluded an agreement with the Government of Canada for the orderly repayment of the $1.6 billion in transition funding it received when B.C. moved to the Harmonized Sales Tax, Minister of Finance Kevin Falcon announced Wednesday.

??Under the new agreement, the Province will have five years to repay in full the transition funding, and Canada has agreed to waive any interest charges over this period.

??While the Province has always acknowledged its responsibility for the repayment of the federal transition funding, the actual timing of when that repayment was to occur remained something for B.C. and Canada to further discuss.??

The extended repayment schedule will save the Province debt interest costs that would otherwise have been incurred had the Province had to pay back the full amount right away-money that can instead go toward protecting core B.C. services.??

The full cost of the $1.6-billion repayment will still be booked in the provincial’s government’s 2011-12 fiscal year, but the Province will instead be able to flow the cash over the coming five years.