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Espinet: Petrotrin board

Published: 
Wednesday, September 19, 2018
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Roatry Club of Port-of-Spain members listen to Petrotrin chairman Wilfred Espinet’s feature address during the club’s luncheon yesterday. Photo by:ABRAHAM DIAZ

Petrotrin chairman Wilfred Espinet yesterday admitted he instructed the board of directors to take a 50 per cent cut on their monthly $5,000 salary, noting they have been providing yeoman service to the company for little or no payments.

He made the disclosure as he delivered a presentation titled “Re-investing” Petrotrin following a luncheon hosted by the Port-of-Spain Rotary Club which was attended by business owners and Rotarians at Goodwill Industries, Port-of-Spain.

Espinet dispelled reports that surfaced in social media in the last few days that his pay packet as chairman was $200,000 monthly, while its directors collected hefty salaries.

Speaking about the board, the majority of whom he described as volunteers, Espinet said, “For your information, the Government pays the chairman $10,000 a month, which of course I am. I made every director give up 50 per cent of his $5,000-a-month salary to be in that. And he is working every day. Most of them are retirees and it is costing them money to do it. But they are doing it because they have come to this as a national service. And they are doing it for T&T.”

As he put forward a case as to how Petrotrin reached this chaotic situation, Espinet made it clear he has no “political ambitions,” nor does he have “any interest or agenda” in the shutting down the company, which would result in 3,400 workers being sent home.

He reiterated that the refinery and marketing aspects of Petrotrin had not been a profitable business, while the cost of manpower has been “exceptional in relation to other costs.” Although the company had injected billions of dollars in “science projects,” Espinet said these brought no returns.

Espinet drew reference to the manpower strength at the refinery, saying it took three to four workers to do the job of one employee.

To keep Petrotrin operational, Espinet said $25 billion would be needed as the company was not generating any cash flow. This meant that every citizen in T&T would have to make a contribution of $80,000 over a five-year period to cover the $25 billion required.

“It’s not doable, not fundable and impractical,” he said.

Saying the issue with Petrotrin has been a big challenge “as you are talking about a lot of people and a lot of lives,” Espinet said if they don’t follow through with the tough decisions given by experts Petrotrin will soon collapse.

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