Tuesday 21 May, 2019

PM: Job losses were inevitable to save economy

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has once again justified his government's decision to shut down the Petrotrin refinery.

This time he defended the move in part two of his national address to the nation called "It's Your Business" which was broadcasted on Monday night.

In a breakdown of Petrotrin's financial situation, Dr Rowley noted that the company had a $13B debt burden with $4B in royalties and taxes owed to the government. He added that it was projected that the company would lose $20B at the end of five years. 

As such, he said the move to restructure Petrotrin - with its subsidiary now being the Heritage Petroleum Company - was unavoidable. 

"Last time I checked up here, some people were trying to put horns on meh mead....We couldn't make an omelette without breaking the egg and hopefully, we'll have a meal for all after we break the egg but we did not kill the golden goose that laid the egg."

"The debt owed by Petrotrin would be serviced by this company so it relieves the Minister of Finance of the burden of servicing Petrotrin's debt which leaves more money for the Minister of Finance to do other things in the country. If we do this well which is what Petrotrin was not doing well which is look for oil, find oil, sell oil, if we do that well it could turn a profit as against a loss."

Meanwhile, Dr Rowley said the job losses that was as a result of the shutdown will be deferred as many will be rehired by the new company.

"While some people would have been affected and would have had a bad Christmas, some people who got a big fat cheque and got rehired got the best of both worlds".

The Prime Minister said since 2015, 20,000 people lost their jobs in T&T.

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