Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Ramnarine: NGC dividends used to support budget

File Photo: Energy Minister Kevin Ramnarine

FORMER Energy Minister Kevin Ramnarine said yesterday the former People's Partnership government requested more dividends from the National Gas Company from 2010 to 2015.

The dividends from the NGC were used to support government revenues.

“Over the period 2010 to 2015, the shareholder of the National Gas Company (the government) requested increased dividends in light of the increased profits of the company. These funds were transferred to the Consolidated Fund and used for budgetary support. That is to say they were used to support government revenue,” he said.

Ramnarine said in an emailed statement: “The alternatives available to the Ministry of Finance, at the time, would have been to raise revenue by increased taxation or to increase borrowings. Borrowing would have increased the debt to gross domestic product (GDP) ratio of the country. In addition, the shareholder calling for dividends did not impede the strategic and operational objectives of the NGC.”

Ramnarine said during “the period under consideration (2010 to 2015), the NGC was the most profitable it had ever been recording before tax profits of $33 billion and after tax profits of $22 billion. These dividends came out of these extraordinary profits.”

He said NGC chairman Gerry Brooks at a Public Accounts Committee meeting of Parliament Wednesday included proceeds from the 2015 TTNGL initial public offering (IPO) as part of the revenue that went to Government.