JIS News

Minister of Finance and Planning, Dr. Omar Davies has recommended that a realistic energy policy be developed to address the country’s high-energy bill.
In opening the 2004/05 Budget Debate at Gordon House on Thursday (April 15), Dr. Davies disclosed that the original forecast for the country’s oil bill for 2004/05 was projected at US$30 per barrel, which represents some US$850 million for the period and a current account deficit of US$885 million.
This, he said, had put the oil bill at approximately 10 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Continuing, Dr. Davies said: “If OPEC decides to reduce supplies and increase the crude oil price average of US$35 per barrel for the fiscal year, the fuel bill could climb to over US$950 million to US$110 million, above the original forecast and the current account deficit could move to 11 per cent of GDP.”
The Finance Minister said that it was necessary that serious dialogue on the energy bill be pursued. “I have put this information out as there is need for the country, beginning with the members of this Honourable House, to initiate serious dialogue on our energy bill. Whilst conservation measures must be promoted, the reality is that these will not be enough to address the difficulty, which have been outlined,” he said.
He pointed out that if the energy bill skyrocketed the tourism, bauxite and export sector could not grow at a rate to compensate for the possible increase in the import bill as outlined.

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