Jamaica has high oil import bill

CAROL MARTINDALE, carolmartindale@nationnews.com

Added 21 November 2012

julianrobinsonjamaica

KINGSTON, Jamaica – Jamaica spends an estimated US$2.25 billion on oil imports and a monthly J$1.2 billion (One Jamaica dollar =US$0.04 cents) public sector energy bill, Junior Science, Technology, Energy and Mining Minister Julian Robinson has said. He said there is need, therefore,  to stem the expenditure on oil imports and energy usage, warning these high costs could bring the economy to a standstill. "What we spend on oil exceeds everything that we export, including remittances. We are in an unsustainable path. We will not be able to afford to pay for the oil, if we continue on this path, because the economy is just not generating enough money. The second part of it is that our energy costs are just too high,” he told a one-week Energy Management Training Programme for public sector officials. Robinson said that at J$0.42 cents per kilowatt hour, Jamaica’s energy cost is six to seven times that of oil rich Trinidad and Tobago and as a result affects the country’s ability to compete effectively. He said money saved on energy usage and oil imports could instead be used to boost the economy. “We want to achieve a 30 per cent reduction in our public sector energy bill. Just imagine if every month the government could spend $360 million to purchase goods and services,” he said. He said the public sector must lead by example in the thrust for lower oil and energy costs. “There are too many aspects of the public sector where we simply do not pay enough attention to how we manage our energy. You are going to be leaders, because hopefully you will go back and champion what you have gained here and treat it as your own.” The energy management training programme is designed for public sector workers who are responsible for energy management, as well as other professionals in the public sector who have direct responsibility for managing energy use as a part of their job function. (CMC)

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