February 19, 2015

PSOJ Calls for Greater Transparency on Petrojam

 Kingston, Jamaica:

The PSOJ notes with concern the report in The Wednesday Gleaner of February 18th, the intention of PDVSA to sell its 49 percent stake in Petrojam, and the quote attributed to Minister Paulwell that the government could possibly look at also reducing its stake in Petrojam. The PSOJ is concerned that the sale of such an important entity to the Jamaican economy could place the entity in third party hands without appropriate debate and consultation with other stakeholders and the Jamaican public generally, bearing in mind the impact Petrojam has on the economy and the cost of petroleum inputs. As the article states, “The refinery supplies 80 percent of the local non-bauxite market and 70 percent of the national market…” and we might add has the feature of a monopoly in that it sets the prices of fuel each week, which the market follows.

Given the partnership agreement we urge that further consultation takes place.

We are also concerned that this pending sale could be seen as a driving force behind the lack of transparency of the price setting mechanism used by Petrojam and could be used as a means of increasing the profitability of the company, in order to improve the value to be gained from the sale, to the detriment of consumers and the economy on a whole. This at a time when the economy and the fiscal accounts needs all the help it can get to spur growth.

This lack of transparency is also heightened by the fact that the last audited financial statements made available from Petrojam were for financial year ended March 2012, which would mean that they are two years behind in submitting their audited financial statements to the public through Parliament, as required by law.

The PSOJ remains very concerned about these circumstances and is calling on the Minister to provide an appropriate response and assurances about the transparency that will be applied to any divestment of Petrojam.

 -END-

Contact:     Ms. Kareen Cox, Marketing & Public Relations Manager 

Email:        kareenc@psoj.org                 

Tel:             927-6238 (Ext. 2052); Fax 978-2709

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