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  • Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says the future of Petrojam is secure, as governance systems have been established at the entity that must be followed.
  • He said the Government has had to make several decisions about the oil refinery, but the most “significant” one was the buy-back of the shares held by Venezuela, which has cleared the way for Jamaica to make “strategic decisions about its energy security without encumbrances”.
  • The Prime Minister was making his contribution to the 2019/20 Budget Debate in the House of Representatives on March 19.

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says the future of Petrojam is secure, as governance systems have been established at the entity that must be followed.

He said the Government has had to make several decisions about the oil refinery, but the most “significant” one was the buy-back of the shares held by Venezuela, which has cleared the way for Jamaica to make “strategic decisions about its energy security without encumbrances”.

The Prime Minister was making his contribution to the 2019/20 Budget Debate in the House of Representatives on March 19.

“Petrojam has a secure future in whatever form we may choose to continue the business. Without that action, credible investment in the refinery would have been limited if not impossible to obtain. Without this action, it was clear that it would have become increasingly difficult to do business with suppliers and bankers, once sanctions remained in place,” he told the House.

Mr. Holness said the Petrojam Review Commission, which he appointed last October, will submit its report in June, and notwithstanding its finding, he has directed the Board and management of the entity to ensure that it continues to pursue opportunities and take decisions that will preserve and enhance the existing value of the business, that going forward, “it will have significant commercial value”.

He said Petrojam has been mandated to pursue markets in CARICOM to sell heavy fuel oil (HFO) that will not be used by the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS), when that company transitions to liquefied natural gas (LNG), and to supply the bunkering market.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister said that under new governance rules, Board chairmen will have to notify and get the approval of Ministers before they travel; Board members will have to disclose residency to Ministers and the Cabinet; a system now exists for detailed procedures on how public bodies can make donations, which include limits to be set by the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service.

He outlined that there are now “tighter procedures” around the use of retainer contracts, which require that all such contracts that are to be sole source must get approval of the Cabinet, and that connected party interests with the Board or management must be declared to the Cabinet and in annual reports.

On the issue of non-disclosure agreements and confidentiality clauses in human resource (HR) settlements in public bodies, they cannot be concealed from the Parliament, and the monetary value cannot be subjected to confidentiality, the Prime Minister said.