Given the recent statements by the Minister of Energy against state oil company Petrotrin it is time the Government come clean with the citizens of our nation and admit that they intend to privatize the pertinent state owned company.
Speaking at an energy conference in the HYATT on Monday the Minister said; “Where the Capital is going to come from is yet to be seen. All I will say is the state has no money to give them”. These statements besides seeking to belittle an entity which has given much to the economic framework of this nation provides a clear indication that as Government aims to stifle Capital funding from Petrotrin, the state oil company would be forced to adopt some model of privatization to gain the much needed financing.
In his address Minister Khan went on to say that “he feels great pain to see the state of the company,” but it seems as if he has forgotten that it was a past PNM administration which placed the once “healthy” company into this predicament of debt when the then board led by Malcom Jones wasted over 1 billion dollars on the World GTL project, wasted in excess of 100 million dollars on the Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel Project which will require millions of dollars more to make it viable while they also spent over 100 million dollars on the construction of a new Petrotrin Head office which remains uncompleted as an “eyesore” today . Our nation was never given any retribution for these failed projects due to the political shenanigans of this Rowley led administration. Today we see the wanton spending and mismanagement continues within Petrotrinn under this administration with government paying over 63 million dollars in consultancy fees within the past year for the use of only 16 consultants while over 85 million remains unaccounted for with the “fake oil” fiasco.
This current administration is not serious about fixing the issues at Petrotrin because for the past 30 months all we have heard is talk about restructuring yet no tangible efforts have been made to improve the company’s position. On the contrary, this government has actively and consistently spread the narrative that the company is failing, it is a burden and not profitable to our nation. This administration has sat idly by while the leadership structure of the state company was broken apart therefore reducing the stability of the entity. Since March the company has been functioning without a senior management team. Why would any proactive and productive government allow this? Because these conditions create the superb environment for Privatization.
Therefore today when the nation is told that Petrotrin’s oil production is declining due to a lack of investment and asset integrity as stated by the Minister in his recent speech, our nation must note it is the role of the Government via the board to ensure that both of these issues are properly dealt with. However since taking office in September 2015 this government has failed to enact any innovative measures which would have propelled Petrotrin forward and improved its financial standing. Therefore the company is not failing on its own accord but rather because of the purposeful incompetence of this administration coupled with what would appear to be a strategic attempt to weaken the company further to the point of privatization.
As Member of Parliament for Pointe a Pierre hundreds of my constituents are employed within this state company which can be described as a crown jewel in our nation’s economic framework. However most of them are fearful of the potential job losses which usually follows when a company is restructured as is presently being done at Petrotrin or Privatized which seems the likely direction given the actions of this administration.