Now that the “love affair” between the government and Niquan is clearly over, the Prime Minister has a duty to tell the population what steps would be taken by his administration to ensure that Niquan repays the $127 million (US 19 million as reported in the media) owed to taxpayers as a result of the debt incurred with the Trinidad and Tobago Upstream Downstream Energy Operations Company Limited (TTUDEOCL)
From the Prime Minister boasting about Niquan’s possible benefit for our nation to now quoting the song Maga Dog, “maga dog turn around and bite you” to describe the relationship between Niquan and a government that gave major concessions without balancing the national interest, vindicates the Opposition’s statements in the last few weeks that the relationship between both had gone bad.
Since 2016 the leader of the Opposition and Opposition Members have been calling for transparency, calling for due diligence to be done to ascertain if Niquan could return value for investment and highlighting the risk to taxpayers.
After years of “sweet hand deals” with Niquan, it is time the Government put the interest of citizens ahead of Niquan by telling us when and how would this $127 million be recovered from Niquan, especially since it has caused a debt burden on NGC. Further, we are still waiting on the Minister of Energy to tell us why NGC is owed for gas when the supply of gas for Niquan was supposed to be sourced from the Minister’s share and not NGC.
Taxpayers have been heavily cheated on this project, with Niquan gaining a billion-dollar plant at a peppercorn rate, an initial fixed supply of gas, and a take-or-pay agreement from the state while the country is yet to see a single benefit. As a result, citizens cannot lose these hundreds of millions owed.
Given Niquan’s other massive debts and inability to function, one has to ask, how would this affect the financial institution that provided them with significant loans? Given this major failure in such a short time, was proper due diligence done to fund Niquan, or was it based on the reputations or positions of a few individuals?
From this collapse to the major safety issues, Niquan has clearly not brought value for money.