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Apr 5, 2006

G.O.B. will bargain for 50-50 oil profit split

Story PictureShifting from the political to the economical, today the Prime Minister also commented on his administration’s ongoing negotiations with Belize Natural Energy and the recent oil find. Musa says his team is working on a formula that will see a fifty-fifty spilt of the profits.

Said Musa, Prime Minister
?The briefing I?ve received from the Ministry of Natural Resources, including the deputy prime minister, is that he?s had very candid and fruitful discussions with them as they work towards arriving at a mutually satisfactory arrangement as regards to tax. I don?t think there?s any real fight going on as such as some sections of the media have been trying to portray it. I think it?s really a case of coming up with a solution that will ensure that the Belizean people do get a fair take on the oil revenues or the resource that?s coming out of the ground from Belize. And we also recognise that this is not an infinite resource. The day will come when it will dry up and it won?t be there anymore, and so we can?t come across either as being greedy or wanting to kill the goose that lays the eggs. So it?s a question of working this thing in a very reasonable way. I understand for instance that the Petroleum Advisory Board has recommended that we try to end up where it?s a fifty-fifty sharing of the profits and I think that is a realistic objective.?

?What the ministry is recommending to Cabinet, because in the final analysis Cabinet will have to take a decision, is one of two things: either we go with a gross receipt tax initially, while they work in coming up with a petroleum law dealing with the tax specifically for that industry as say in countries like Trinidad, or whether we work an arrangement with the company now, settle it by agreement and then take our time and pass the proper legislation dealing with a specific earmarked tax for the petroleum industry. My own preference would be that we do it right, take our time, get it done properly, and ensure that we have a fair result coming out of all this.?

Janelle Chanona
?And that would apply across the board to any other companies that may be coming in??

Said Musa, Prime Minister
?Exactly, it would allow for predictability and permanency in a sense, certainty with people who are thinking of investing in the oil industry in Belize and I think this is at the way we should go about it, as opposed to just trying to rush, grab and have short term benefits, which may not be sustainable.?

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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