UNC Deputy Political Leader and Pointe a Pierre MP David Lee is calling on Prime Minister Keith Rowley to learn from Former Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar on the best way to effectively manage our nation’s Energy Sector given that his government has clearly neglected and failed to effectively develop this sector since taking office in 2015.
Commenting on the recently held “Spot Light on Energy” conference held at the HYATT on Wednesday MP Lee said that the main aspect which emerged from government’s discussion is that they have no innovative measures to increase investment within within the Energy Sector. He said “Over the past 30 months of this administration all we have seen is a constant number of talk shops, technical conversations and promises but not a single policy or measure has been introduced to grow or benefit the energy sector.”
The UNC Deputy Political Leader chastised and condemned the Government for failing to provide a clear plan which would assist this country in expanding it’s energy sector investment base as he noted ” Government centered it’s discussions around seeking to earn more revenue from the existing investors and the current projects they are undertaking within our country. But there was little discussion on policies which could motivate these investors to increase their operations , increase the foreign exchange they generate for this country and even increase the economic activity they provide for our national economy”
He said ” Government has yet again failed to address the issue of investor confidence, economic stability as well as they failed to create a welcoming tone for further investors within the energy sector. ”
MP Lee said that if the Government really wanted to maximize return from the energy sector then Prime Minister Rowley should learn from the work undertaken by Former Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar to propel the energy sector forward. When the Peoples Partnership wanted to increase it gains from the energy sector they didn’t tell oil companies ” We want more money from you” but developed incentives in an effort to create more revenue generation”
The Pointe a Pierre MP noted that these incentives and the economic brilliance of the former administration formed the core of BP’s USD 6 billion dollar investment as he recalled the statements made by outgoing BPTT Regional President Norman Christie in an interview with the Business Express on 14th March 2018 when he said – “Those incentives which allowed BPTT to bring forward it’s Capital expenditure allowances were instrumental in supporting BP’s decision to invest US 6 billion dollars between 2011 and 2017, which led to the construction of the Juniper platform, the establishment of TROC (Trinidad Onshore Compression project) and the discovery of 2 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of gas in the Savannah and Macadamia exploration wells, off Trinidad’s east coast. So you could say it was a stroke of brilliance on the part of the country and government because it provided the incentives for us to invest”
MP Lee went on to raise his concerns over Governments reopening of contract agreements with multinational corporations within the energy sector by saying ” It is in the national interest if Government approaches it’s proposed renegotiations with these companies by seeking to find the perfect balance. The perfect balance is a situation where revenue can be earned for the country but it must not be on terms where these companies feel demotivated to reduce it’s operations . Any reduction in operations due to unrealistic or burdensome terms by the government can result in possible job losses. We have already seen thousands of workers in the energy sector lose their jobs under this administration and further unemployment would be detrimental to our national framework.
The UNC Deputy Political Leader concluded by saying this Government is incompetent and lacks the vision to sustain real national development so their only form of revenue generation is to “bully” the citizens, the businesses and economic stakeholders of Trinidad and Tobago into paying more taxes as opposed to strategic mechanisms which would foster economic growth and prosperity.
He therefore demanded that government lay-off on it’s burdensome “tax tax” policies and seek to create ones which can provide benefits in return for all as he said “We have already seen they have increased the cost of fuel, they have increased corporate taxes and they have burdened our citizens with the reintroduction of VAT as well as property tax. Let us hope they don’t seek to destabilize investors to compensate for their own economic failings. Our national economy like the sea-bridge is already on the verge of collapse due to the missteps of this administration.”