Sunday 21 July, 2019

Former Minister blames Gov't for casting doubt on Petrotrin's future

Former Energy Minister Kevin Ramnarine.

Former Energy Minister Kevin Ramnarine.

Former Energy and Energy Affairs Minister Kevin Ramnarine is criticizing the Government for leaving staff in the dark as it relates to its handling of state-owned Petrotrin.

Ramnarine issued a statement noting that Petrotrin’s current state, including its financial woes, is creating uncertainty among employees.

“Petrotrin is in a state of limbo. Workers are left to wonder about the future of the company and their jobs. Two departments, human resources and corporate communications, have already been publicly identified as areas where staff levels should be reduced.”

The former Energy and Energy Affairs Minister also noted that the resignation of top officials at the company is also responsible for leaving workers insecure about their job security. He further stated that the company’s financial woes are also causing panic.

“In less than two years the company will be required to make a major payment of $US 850 million to bondholders. Petrotrin will have to refinance its debt. The company, therefore, cannot be seen to be in a position that reduces the confidence of international bondholders and banks.”

“The recent resignation of the Chairman (Andrew Jupiter which will take effect on July 31) and much-touted plans for restructuring have created the cloud of uncertainty that now hangs over the company. Earlier this year, the company parted ways with its Chief Financial Officer who was highly regarded by the international financial community.”

Ramnarine said there is the consensus that the company has to become more efficient in the wake of "lower for longer" oil pricing. He said, however, that the Dr Keith Rowley administration should take note that its actions and inactions have only brought uncertainty and instability to the company at a time when it is already in a fragile financial position.

On July 3, Energy and Energy Industries Minister Franklin Khan has identified major areas of concern with state-owned Petrotrin.

These include; improving Operational Efficiencies, Unpaid Liabilities to the State, Liquidity and Asset Integrity, the company’s cost structure and competitiveness, and the lack of working capital.

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