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Privatise Petrotrin says Chaguanas Chamber head

RICHARDSON DHALAI Friday, January 6 2017

D E S C R I B I N G State-owned oil company, Petrotrin, as a “failing” enterprise, Chaguanas Chamber of Industry and Commerce (CCIC) president, Richie Sookhai, has observed that the imminent strike action by the Oilfields Workers Trade Union (OWTU) may be the opportune time to begin a discussion on the privatisation of the troubled oil company.

“Petrotrin has been a failing sector for years in this country and we have been bailing it out with millions of dollars and maybe it’s time to look at the privatisation of Petrotrin which may lead to a turnaround of the company and by extension, the country,” Sookhai, in a telephone interview said.

And citing Prime Minister, Dr Keith Rowley’s remark that Petrotrin was a “ward of the Ministry of Finance”, he pointed out that the company had “always been run at a loss and we believe it’s time to look at privatisation of the company.” “Privatisation might bring a change in terms of actually adding to GDP (Gross Domestic Product) eventually and change around the whole outlook of Petrotrin,” he said.

Asked whether local or foreign investors should be invited to tender proposals for the company, he said, “Consultation needs to take place and a combination of both may be able to help Petrotrin get out of the situation it is in right now.” And regarding the strike action which is scheduled to begin on Monday at 10am, Sookhai once again appealed to the union and its membership to “let good judgement prevail” saying the strike could jeopardise the national economy.

“We are appealing to the OWTU and its workers, let good judgement prevail and not hold the country to ransom and jeopardise the economic situation of the country,” he said, and noted that previous administrations should have put measures in place to prevent trade unions from holding the country to ransom.

Asked about Roget’s comment that the Chambers were not interested in the future of the company and were only interested in the foreign exchange earned by Petrotrin, he pointed out that Petrotrin itself also used foreign exchange to purchase items needed for the refinery’s operations.

“Petrotrin also spends forex on items they need to purchase to run the plant and this is bought from overseas suppliers so it is quite unfair for him to make that kind of statement,” he said.



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