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Ramnarine: Now special dye to stop diesel racket
A special dye will be mixed with subsidised diesel as a security measure to prevent the illegal resale of the fuel on the regional market. Energy Minister Kevin Ramnarine made the announcement yesterday as he toured Petrotrin’s exploration and production operations in Point Fortin. He lamented that the resale of diesel was a continuing problem which his ministry must “grapple” with daily.
Ramnarine said as a security measure, a dye would now be mixed into the subsidised diesel. “There continues to be an unacceptable level of leakage through illegal activities,” he said. “We have, of course, put on the table the whole issue of introducing a dye and we are looking at implementing that before the end of the year,” he said.
Last year, Customs and Excise, together with Coast Guard officers, seized millions of dollars of diesel stored in large containers in Sea Lots, Port-of-Spain. It formed part of an illegal resale racket. The subsidised diesel, which is sold locally at TT$1.50 per litre, was stored for resale to foreigners who are supposed to pay TT$6, but purchase the illegal supply at US$5 per litre.
Ramnarine said this illegal trade caused a dent in local earnings. “It is having, of course, a significant impact on the country’s finances because you have a situation where your diesel subsidy is being used to sustain fishing fleets, I understand, around the Caribbean and that cannot be something that we accept,” the minister said.
He said the ministry, over the past six months, had been able to able to reduce the volume of diesel consumption by 17 per cent. This was done, he said, through interventions by the Energy Ministry, Fisheries Division, Martime Services and the Coast Guard. Government’s subsidy, he said, for the first six months of this fiscal year was running around $2.1 billion and it is projected to end about $3.7 billion. RR
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