Friday 27 November, 2020

Bharath: Shutdown of Petrotrin refinery will cause severe hardships

Former Minister in the Ministry of Finance and Trade Minister Vasant Bharath says the planned shutdown of the refinery of Petrotrin will cause severe hardship in T&T.

In a statement on Tuesday, Bharath said it is noteworthy that the announcement emerged in the week of the observance of this country’s 56th anniversary of political independence.

He said that Petrotrin is both an actual and symbolic expression of the nation’s economic independence since it is a flagship project and a core pursuit of our most prized industry.

However, the former minister said the state-owned company is also the embodiment of poor governance expressed and bad policy decisions, wastage, corruption, nepotism and more.

Bharath added that the collapse of Petrotrin is the result of poor systemic governance.

“Today, the pride of our energy sector stands bereft of the ability to ‘deliver superior results to its shareholders’ and is a testament of monumental debts, amounting to $13 billion, a lack of viability, resulting from an absence of innovation and of weak and indifferent leadership.

Most of this took place under the management of two so called energy czars, who have been honoured with the highest national awards and are lionised as icons,” he said.

The former government minister added that flagship venture has become a national albatross and the symbol of wretched governance of successive PNM regimes.

“Today, facing bond repayments of US$ 850mn in 2019 and US$750mn in 2022, with a wage bill in excess of twice the international average and adjudged by Solomon Associates, a leading global performance measurement company, as functioning in the bottom of the fourth quartile of the energy sector internationally, the future of the company’s operations look bleak. The current state of the energy company is a legacy of the critical lack of national and industry planning, along with the absence of transparency and probity,” he said.

The former minister added that planned shutdown of the refinery will cause hardship.

“Ultimately, over 2000 employees, and their families will be affected in addition to several ancillary businesses and their employees, which potentially can run into several thousand people being put on the breadline. This will undoubtedly cause severe hardship and social and economic dislocation,” the former People’s Partnership minister said.


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