Sunday 26 January, 2020

Former Minister slams Imbert's “misleading” budget comments

Former People Partnership Government Minister Kevin Ramnarine.

Former People Partnership Government Minister Kevin Ramnarine.

Former Energy Minister Kevin Ramnarine said the statements made by Finance Minister Colm Imbert regarding the fiscal incentives of 2014 are “totally wrong” and “misleading”.

Ramnarine issued a statement on Tuesday where he said Imbert's comments and their tone serve to erode investor confidence in T&T’s energy sector.

“The facts of the matter remain that these incentives (accelerated capital allowances) have had little or no impact on Government revenue from the oil and gas sector since their introduction in 2014. This is largely due to the fact that oil and gas companies have had little or no taxable income in recent years against which these allowances could be applied. It should be noted too that these allowances do not change the fact that oil and gas companies could have always claimed 100% of capital expenditure for exploration and developmental drilling,” he said.

Ramnarine also said Minister Imbert’s claims that the People Partnership Government is responsible for T&T not getting corporation tax from oil and gas companies for the next seven years are false.

He said the Finance Act of 2014 makes provisions for the expiry of these accelerated allowances on December 31st, 2017.

Meanwhile, the former PP Government Minister said the incentives are responsible for the increase in exploration and developmental drilling in recent years.

He said this has led to the increase in natural gas production in the second half of 2017 and the rebound in the energy sector.

Ramnarine noted that low levels of corporation tax in the oil and gas sector in 2017 and beyond are not because of the accelerated capital allowances but are because of carry forward losses from earlier years and Low Supplemental Petroleum Taxes collection as oil prices have been under US$ 50 per barrel for most of 2017.

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