Friday, April 12, 2024

Gonsalves denies hiding PetroCaribe debt from IMF

Date:

Share post:

KINGSTOWN – The St Vincent and the Grenadines government has denied suggestions that it is hiding the debt owed under the Venezuela-led PetroCaribe oil initiative from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Earlier this week the Washington-based financial institution said that two-thirds of the debt is not reflected in the public debt figures.

But Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves said the debt to PetroCaribe is in the government accounts but not reflected in the debt profile inside of the estimates.

“What happened is this: Part of the arrangement had to do with the original discussion which we had with Venezuela. And that is why we did it that way,” he told reporters.

The IMF said in a statement Monday that only EC$71 million (One EC dollar=US$0.37 cents) of the EC$183 million PetroCaribe St Vincent owes to Venezuela is recorded as government debt.

But Gonsalves insists “there is nothing which is hidden because we give them (IMF) the information all the time. I also gave the information to the House [of Assembly)”.

Gonsalves, who is also Finance Minister, said that he has read out in Parliament the amount money allocated to each programme or project in St Vincent and the Grenadines using PetroCaribe loan monies.

“Every approval from PetroCaribe to any entity is done through the Cabinet. A memo comes from the PetroCaribe, and the decision is recorded in the Cabinet and the Ministry of Finance has all the information and I make the information available to the country and the House. There is absolutely no hiding,” Gonsalves said.

He said there is something that he would like to do further with the PetroCaribe debt, which he is discussing with Venezuela. He did not elaborate.

“In the fullness of time, that will be made known,” he said.

He said the public would note that the IMF did not say that the PetroCaribe debt is close to the one billion dollar EC mark quoted by the Bank of Nova Scotia, which the opposition has said it is inclined to believe.

The EC$183 million owed under PetroCaribe represents 8.7 per cent of the island’s gross domestic product.

Under PetroCaribe, Venezuela’s oil initiative with several Caribbean nations, countries import oil from Caracas and pay for a portion upfront and keep the remainder as a low-interest 20-year loan to help fund social programmes. (CMC)

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related articles

Shopkeepers playing it safe

Some shopkeepers are on high alert because of the recent increase in aggravated burglaries and robberies. While some said...

Drug testing hold-up

Athletes competing in various local sporting disciplines have not been tested so far this year to determine whether...

Double blow for mother

Shavvy Dublin was already having a difficult Monday because it was the anniversary of her daughter’s sudden death. Unfortunately,...

Shopkeepers playing it safe

Some shopkeepers are on high alert because of the recent increase in aggravated burglaries and robberies. While some said...