Tuesday, June 28, 2022
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In a show of complete solidarity, the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela has forgiven this country’s Petro Caribe’s debt, which was in excess of 1- hundred million dollars.  This debt forgiveness comes on the heels of meetings held between President Nicholas Maduro and Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves earlier this week.

This debt relief means that St Vincent and the Grenadines’ debt to GDP ratio moves from 95 per cent to almost 88 per cent, in a time when the rest of the Caribbean is grappling with debt to GDP ratios of over 98 per cent.

Minister of Finance Hon Camillo Gonsalves, in a press briefing on Thursday, says this means that the Government’s fiscal health has improved drastically and funds can be allocated to other areas of development. Minister Gonsalves also noted that this reduction in Debt to GDP ratio is favourable in encouraging investors into the country.

In addition to this, Petro caribe has agreed to offer aid in terms of energy and its rising cost. The Government of Venezuela has agreed through Petro Caribe to provide diesel to the St Vincent Electricity Services (VINLEC) in excess of what they use on a daily basis; VINLEC uses approximately 550-600 barrels per day and Petro Caribe will provide up to 1000 barrels per day. Minister Gonsalves says this savings will impact immediately on consumers as it lowers the fuel surcharge and it’s a significant concession.

The Finance Minister also pointed out that this provides a form of energy reserve during this time and with there is enough storage capacity at the Hugo Chavez facility in Lowmans to store Diesel, Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), Jet fuel and gasoline.

Petro Caribe will also resume shipping cooking gas or LPG to St. Vincent and the Grenadines at a discounted rate, in the amount 3,500 barrels of LPG per year. Minister Gonsalves says this is expected to keep cooking gas at the set rate.

The Government of Venezuela has also agreed to send up to 2 thousand tonnes of asphalt per month, Bragsa currently uses between 200 to 600 tonnes of asphalt per month for road repairs, according to the Minister, this would enable the state agency to engage in more road repairs and proper road construction.

The Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela has been a close ally of St Vincent and the Grenadines providing assistance in all areas of National development.

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