Finance Minister Colm Imbert is seeking to clear the air on a news report he says misrepresented what he told journalists at Thursday's post-Cabinet news conference.
The following is a statement sent by the Ministry of Finance on the matter.
"The Minister of Finance has taken note of an article in the Daily Express Newspaper of October 28, 2016, entitled “Punishment on Punishment” and a headline “Gas Dealers Defy Colm”.
The article is inaccurate and based on a false premise.
The article incorrectly states that the Minister of Finance has issued a directive to all NP gas stations, that they must accept credit and debit cards.
In reality, the Minister made it clear at the post-Cabinet press conference on Thursday October 27th, that this instruction had been issued to gas stations owned and operated by NP, only, and not to dealer-operated stations.
The Minister went further to explain that there are several types of gas stations, including stations owned and operated by NP and stations owned by NP but operated by dealers.
Accordingly, having issued instructions to all gas stations owned and operated by NP to accept credit and debit cards, the Government is now in the process of examining the terms and conditions of the licenses granted to dealers who operate the other type of stations (NP owned, but dealer operated), to see whether they were entitled to refuse to accept credit cards and debit cards. If it is determined that the dealers are in breach of their license and/or their contractual arrangements with the Government, appropriate action will be taken.
It is not correct, therefore, to say now that petroleum dealers are defying the Minister of Finance, because the dealers have received no instructions from the Minister of Finance. Instead, what the Minister has done is to ensure that all gas stations under the full control of NP will continue to accept credit and debit cards, which is a total of over 50 stations in Trinidad and Tobago."