FINANCE Minister Colm Imbert says the price of cooking gas and bitumen will not increase with the closure of the Petrotrin refinery.
He was speaking as the Standing Finance Committee considered expenditure on the Works and Transport Ministry for 2019 in Parliament yesterday.
Chaguanas West MP Ganga Singh said when he calls 623-MEND and reports potholes in his constituency, including ones growing larger with the rainy season, the people who man the telephones tell him there is a lack of bitumen (used for road paving).
"Now that Petrotrin is no longer Petrotrin and that therefore bitumen is a problem, can we see an exacerbation of the problem in the supply in bitumen to the 623-MEND programme?"
Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan said the ministry has been having discussions with the Energy Ministry and has been assured the supply of bitumen, not only to the Works Ministry but to the entire construction industry, will be addressed.
"And we should have no fear of shortage in the short or medium term."
Singh asked if there would be a price increase but Sinanan said that would be under the purview of the Energy Ministry.
Finance Minister Colm Imbert intervened and said it was Government's intention regarding items previously produced by Petrotrin, such as cooking gas and now bitumen, that the price to consumers "would now remain the same at this time and the availability will be the same or better."
Imbert said the bitumen will have to be imported, and in quantities equal to or better than what currently obtains.
"And probably of a higher quality too. And the Government will continue to subsidise the price, so that the effects of the Petrotrin closure on the cost of living would be minimised."