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Jun 28, 2006

Minister says tax hike is fair for all parties

Story PictureMeanwhile, this evening we contacted Minister of Natural Resources John Briceño, who told us that while he understands B.N.E.’s desire to do the best it can for itself, the company was well aware of government’s plans and the new tax rate is fair for all concerned.

John Briceño, Minister of Natural Resources
?From earlier on we explained to B.N.E. that we have to revisit the income tax rate. Because of what happened in July of 1998, when there was an amendment to the income tax, they enacted the business tax. It basically closed off part two, where they dealt with taxes on petroleum. We pointed that out to B.N.E. earlier on and that we would have to revisit it, so they were aware of it. Secondly, what we did is that we brought in a petroleum financial expert from Trinidad and Tobago, who reviewed the work that B.N.E. has been doing. Because once they declared that they had a commercial find on March the third, we then at that time would have to audit their books to see the exact amount that has been invested, so then government can pay in its ten percent working interest. It is during that revision then that the expert, what he did was look at, what is government?s policy? What is our aim? The Prime Minister has said it, and I have said it before, that in this industry we feel that a fifty-fifty spilt was going to be fair and equitable to both parties.?

Stewart Krohn, Reporting
?Now minister, the directors of B.N.E. claim that under the old tax regime, where the income tax was twenty-five percent. According to their calculations that actually achieves a fifty-fifty split of net revenues, according to their figures. Is that the case??

John Briceño
?As far as we are concerned, as far as the numbers that we have seen and all the advice that we have been given that?s not the case.?

Briceno says that while the House Committee will listen to all sides in next week’s hearings, he is confident that the members will agree to the new tax legislation.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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