Very few facts have been released regarding the PetroCaribe oil deal by the Ministry of Trade and Industry. In the interest of transparency and good governance, The Nassau Institute asks the Minister to answer 20 brief questions.
1) What new infrastructure is required for the government to become a supplier of gasoline to the Bahamian consumer?
2) Will 100% of the cost for building the infrastructure be paid for by taxpayers?
3) If taxpayer's pay less than 100%, who will pay the difference?
4) How will you guarantee the reliability of fuel received from PetroCaribe?
5) Has a cost benefit analysis been done?
6) Will you make all the projected costs for changing the present arrangements known to the public?
7) What will be the price of gas at the pump when government supplies it?
8) Will government lift the moratorium on the number of gas stations now permitted to supply the public?
9) In dollars and cents, what will be the financing costs for the Venezuelan oil?
10) What expertise does government have to be a competent middleman in the oil supply chain? How many foreign oil experts will have to be employed?
11) Today the oil companies have an assured supply chain with the capability to procure product from multiple sources. Will any cost savings be significant enough to cover the increased risk of a supply disruption?
12) Will the government be able to purchase crude or refined oil at prices lower than the market rate?
13) If so, for how long?
14) Can you guarantee that the prices will always be lower than those of independent suppliers?
15) What is the budget for the National Energy Commission?
16) Can you assure Bahamian taxpayers that The Commission will not turn into an over-manned under performing bureaucracy?
17) Have you taken into account the "real" costs of borrowing and how this will impact the price at the pump?
18) Will these costs be paid for at the pump or by increasing taxation?
19) Can you guarantee that the taxes will not be increased to pay for the change?
20) Will an escape clause from the Bolivian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA) be part of any agreement made with Venezuela/Mr. Chavez?