OPPOSITION Senator Wade Mark says Russia's invasion of Ukraine, one year ago, helped slightly boost TT's economy in relation to the energy sector.
Mark was speaking in the Senate on Tuesday morning during the second reading of the Finance (Supplementation and Variation of Appropriation) (Financial Year 2023) Bill, 2023.
Mark said the government over-estimated oil prices in the most recent budget presentation and is now "crying" because those figures have not been realised.
"But you know who is hurting most? The people, because the rainy-day fund called the HSF (Heritage and Stabilisation Fund) will not be provided with any injection of revenues because government went so high and the price has come down, so there is a gap."
The reality is, Mark said, "there are lower oil prices and there are lower gas prices and revenues are down and expenditure is up."
He added, "And thanks to (Russian President) Vladimir Putin that we were able to get higher prices for oil and gas and petrochemicals. Without him invading Ukraine, I don't know where this country's economy would have been."
Last week, Opposition chief whip David Lee asked Finance Minister Colm Imbert to stop running away from their questions on the energy sector.
Lee asked the government to be clear on whether the public is being overcharged for fuel.
"The Minister of Finance cannot answer this claim and has failed to answer this claim because the evidence we will present to you again, the same as we presented at Wednesday’s mid-term debate is damning and clear.
"For seven months this government had full knowledge that the oil price was below $80 dollars per barrel. But what did they do? They charged the people of this nation a fuel price based on $90 dollars per barrel. The government of TT committed in our view, an act of highway robbery at the pumps against citizens."
He said the government should say what is the "true price" the public should be paying and when this would be reflected at the pumps.