(Trinidad Express) Trinidad and Tobago has lost about TT$1.5 billion through an illegal racket of selling diesel fuel to buyers in other countries.
Energy Minister Kevin Ramnarine confirmed the figure to the Express and TV6 News on Wednesday during an interview following the BG Energy Luncheon Series at the Hilton Trinidad, in Port of Spain.
Ramnarine said investigations by his ministry showed that illegal bunkering- the sale of subsidised fuel to non-nationals- remains a “major problem in Trinidad and Tobago”.
This year, local motorists and companies would have benefitted from a TT$4.8 billion fuel subsidy when they bought gasoline and diesel at the pumps.
The Government pays for 80 per cent of the subsidy and energy companies pick up the remaining 20 per cent.
But Ramnarine said after his ministry started investigating illegal bunkering a few months ago, it was estimated that almost 40 per cent, or about TT$1.5 billion, has been lost through the illegal sale of diesel fuel.
The bunkering racket has been going on for much longer than was initially believed.