CARONI Central MP Dr Bhoe Tewarie says the decision to close the Petrotrin refinery could mean the one per cent growth projected by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in a recent report would instead be a minus.
He was speaking with the media after the opening of the new session of Parliament on Friday.
“I have some concerns about the IMF report and the fact that, first of all, it has one line about Petrotrin. And therefore none of the numbers used by the IMF in the writing of their Article IV report take into account the impact of the closure of the refinery and the consequences of decisions about Petrotrin.”
Tewarie said if the numbers are wrong and the Petrotrin decision is going to affect the numbers adversely, then the one per cent growth projected for 2018 is not likely to emerge.
“And we are likely in fact to be in minus numbers as far as the growth is concerned for 2018.
“And all the numbers in the IMF report, by the way, are 2017 numbers, by and large.” Tewarie said if this is the case, “I hope the Minister of Finance will not come to the country (for the budget presentation today) and tell us that he ‘can see clearly again,’ or some modification of it, or that we are in for ‘very good times,’ because of the gas increases in both quantum and in revenue.”
He said the increases alone do not indicate any good news whatsoever for TT in the light of other prevailing circumstances.
“And the documentation available, not just the IMF but the Central Bank documentation, indicates very clear(ly) that every sector in the country, besides natural gas-related elements, are in steep decline.”
He also commented on the announcement bythe Prime Minister that screening for candidates for the 2020 general election will begin in April 2019. Tewarie said this was meant to stave off a call for an early election.
“Because,” he reasoned, “if you say you are preparing for elections, that means that elections are on the horizon, so there is no sense calling for it.”