PM: Gov't not at a stage of divesting Petrojam

Monday, December 10, 2018

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Prime Minister Andrew Holness says the Government is not at a stage of divesting Petrojam although there is no strategic reason for the State to continue owning the oil refinery.

Speaking this morning at a press conference that was convened on the heels of last week's damning report from the auditor general on Petrojam and its parent, the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica PCJ, Holness said the geopolitics of 1970s and 80s that led to the State-owned oil refinery are no longer around and the entity could become a fiscal risk to Government.

The prime minister said the Government has offered to buy back Petrojam's stake from Venezuela but due to market conditions, sanctions and geopolitics, the oil refinery could face some risk, but he hopes that the process can be closed.

At the same time he highlighted that there has been no upgrade at the oil refinery since 2006.

The findings of the Petrojam audit, which were tabled in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, revealed high levels of unaccountable oil losses, instances of management overriding procurement guidelines, poor management of capital investment projects and consultancy arrangements, inconsistent recruitment and employment practices, and inadequate oversight and monitoring of Petrojam operations by the Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology.

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