In relation to reports of limited funds and GOB not being able to meet certain financial obligations, there were also reports of a shortage of diesel fuel. According to some media reports, part of the problem may have had to do with G.O.B. not paying outstanding bills. However, on Sunday, GOB issued a statement saying that this information is untrue. It says that the delay is solely due to , and we quote, “…unanticipated difficulties encountered by PDVSA, not by PUMA or the GOB, in the offloading of a shipment of fuel from Venezuela to Belize, and has absolutely nothing to do with any payment by GOB of its fuel bill. All GOB bills are, and are expected to remain, up to date”. According to the release, the Ministry of Finance has been informed by PUMA that it is has made alternate arrangements to bring in diesel fuel from other sources to fill the full needs of the gas stations. GOB says that the stock of diesel will return to normal no later than the middle of this week. It is also expected that the shipment of fuel from Venezuela will be offloaded in the next several days.
Again, the Leader of the Opposition spoke on this issue as well.
Hon. Johnny Briceno, Leader of the Opposition
Like it just does not end. All weekend we have been hearing that there is an oil tanker parked in our waters that refuese to unload its diesel. My sources are telling me that the Government owes as much as five shipments of fuel. Is that true? I don’t know, but that’s what I have been told. I know the Government issued a weak press release stating that it’s not their fault, that it is some problem with PDVSA and PUMA and whatever it is. It could be so, because probably Government pays PUMA and then PUMA pays PDVSA. So if the Government is not paying PUMA, PDVSA is going to have a problem with PUMA because they want to make sure that they get their monies. The point is that we are rationing diesel right now. There are already some customers that can’t get diesel for their trucks and for their vehicles and to be able to do work. Diesel is used for the productive sector. Our economy is already on its knees, there was very little to no growth last year; this year we see the same. And when we have these uncertainties, it doesn’t help; it only makes matters worse. Here we have a government; Barrow/Faber Administration that has been involved in Litigation after litigation, Millions of dollars spent, we continue to lose these cases and yet they continue to fight, Why? They are Costing us Millions of dollars. We know that there have been many instances of corruption, cronyism and incompetence and yet the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister they do nothing.