Saturday 7 December, 2019

Opposition: Fix Petrotrin issues

This, as Opposition says it is not convinced that government is managing issues, especially within the energy sector, in a way that would benefit the economy.

At a media conference at the Office of the Leader of the Opposition on Sunday, former planning minister Dr Bhoe Tewarie expressed concern over the challenge that Petrotrin posed, with the company owing the State $1.2 billion in taxes, and losses for 2016 at $4.5 billion.

He noted, however, that a number of opportunities to bring about a turnaround at the company currently exist in the form of oil discovery in Guyana and exploration for oil and gas by Barbados.

Tewarie also noted the need for a review of the operations of the State enterprise sector to determine whether a new model, including employee share ownerships, state ownership, private sector participation, the reduction and elimination of subsidies, needed to be adopted.  

seven-member committee has been set up tasked with conducting a review of Petrotrin’s operations. Its first report is expected to be submitted by June 1, 2017.

Meanwhile, the former minister also expressed concerns over low production in the manufacturing sector.

“The manufacturing sector is producing at 30 percent less than it should, and we need manufacturing exports for foreign exchange. So it seems to me that that is something which the government needs to work with the manufacturing sector on, to increase production capacity, to double exports, to double the number of jobs in the manufacturing sector.

We secured an IDB loan for the services sector, for about $20 million, and that is a project if pursued could lead to exports in the ICT and services-related sector that is supported by ICT.”

Tewarie stressed that these interventions had to be made in order to stimulate the economy and encourage job creation.

“Because we don’t see the evidence of them managing all of these things in a way that requires bringing together all of these things for impact on the economy,” the former minister concluded. 



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