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A $73.3 million difference between
energy companies payments to gov-
ernment in 2010/2011 and the actual
money government received has raised
an alarm with the Oilfields Workers
Trade Union (OWTU).
The difference was revealed in the
first-ever T&T Extractive Industries
Transparency Initiative (TTEITI) report,
OWTU chief education and research
officer Ozzi Warwick said on Wednes-
He called the difference into question
when he addressed a public forum on
the report presented by the TTEITI
steering committee. The report contains
an audited review of T&T s energy
earnings for the fiscal year 2010/2011
from the extractive industries, such as
oil and gas.
Warwick, speaking at the OWTU s
Paramount Building in San Fernando,
said audited flows showed that energy
companies paid government some
$23.254 million, but Government
received a total of $23.181 million. A
discrepancy of $73.3 million was dis-
covered. This difference, he said, is not
a small amount and should not be
"Seventy-three million is not
accounted for," he said.
Foreign exchange issue
However, TTEITI secretariat head
Mark Regis, in a telephone interview
with the T&T Guardian yesterday,
assured that the $73.3 million has been
accounted for and was merely an issue
of "timing" of the payments.
He said two factors contributed to
the $73.3 million difference. The first
factor was a difference in the foreign
exchange rate at the time of payment
and the time of receipt.
Regis said the payments were made
in US currency through wire transfers
at the Central Bank and when pay-
ments were made the exchange rate
stood at a particular figure and when
the money was deposited that rate
"In that case there would be a dif-
ference," he said.
Regis also explained that the larger
part of the difference was a delayed
payment. He explained that one of the
companies had issued its wire transfer
payment within the fiscal year
2010/2011, but it was deposited in the
2011/2012 fiscal year.
"We are working with a government
fiscal year, which is from October 1 to
September 30 of the following calendar
year, so when the company made the
payment it was not deposited to the
treasury some time in October (2011),
so it would have gone over the next
fiscal year. It is not to say it was some-
where else. It was in the Govern-
ment system," Regis said.
He assured that all money was
accounted for by the administrators
of the report.
"There is no missing money,"
He quipped that the delayed
payment might show up as a dis-
crepancy in the 2011/2012 report.
More accountability needed
This explanation was contained
in the report but Warwick, in his
presentation on Wednesday, did
not accept it.
"No foreign currency exchange
could account for $73 million. I
would just like to suggest that the
$73 million is not satisfactorily
explained, I am not saying it was
pocketed. It could be banked,"
He said while he welcomed the
report, he believed the reporting
of companies payments and Gov-
ernment s receipts should be
"The reporting is currently vol-
untary. It must be mandatory,
companies must not be given an
opportunity to opt out of reporting
and therefore provide an oppor-
tunity for Government to opt out
of being transparent and account-
able to the people of T&T," War-
He said the report should be
more comprehensive and the next
one should include earnings from
midstream and downstream indus-
TTEITI chair Victor Hart said
the report is a "huge step forward
in Government s accountability to
Union queries $73m energy payment deficit
TTETI: Money was in system
OWTU chief education and
research officer Ozzi Warwick.
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