FORMER Minister of Energy Kevin Ramnarine expressed scepticism over remarks made by Finance Minister Colm Imbert during his mid-year review presentation before Parliament, in which he claimed TT’s energy sector was “booming.”
Ramnarine said he was concerned and admitted while there has been some recovery in the price of natural gas, it was too soon to say whether such improvements qualified as a boom.
He told Newsday yesterday, such remarks could mislead the public and urged Imbert to exercise caution at such a crucial time in the economy’s recovery, as the statements were bold and needed a second opinion before he could be sure of the accuracy of his remarks. He added that such statements could result in demands for wage increases by trade unions.
“That statement is reflective of the exuberance of the minister. When the Minister says the energy sector is booming, what he means is that gas production has recovered.
But (it) has not recovered to where it was in 2010, so we must put things in perspective.
“So it has not recovered to the level it was at in 2010, but there has been a degree of recovery.
Ramnarine added that any improvements observed over the past year with respect to gas production were the result of plans initiated by the People’s Partnership administration from either 2014 or 2015.
He said Imbert’s claim that the energy sector was booming also did not match reports that Petrotrin was unable to transfer its assets to cash.
“What is happening at Petrotrin, where they are, according to the two ratings agents, (is) suffering from weak liquidity and we all know that Petrotrin’s financial position is very precarious.
So I would take the minister’s description of the energy sector being in ‘boom’ with a pinch of salt.”