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CET removal from energy products to be Paulwell’s priority

Published:Monday | February 8, 2016 | 2:11 PMNeville Graham

Minister of Science Technology Energy & Mining, Phillip Paulwell, says he plans to prioritise the removal of the Common External Tariff (CET) from solar water heaters and petroleum products, if his party forms the next government.

A CET rate of 15 per cent is applied to solar water heaters produced outside of the Caribbean.

“Many of our Jamaican users of solar water heaters have complained that because Barbados and St Lucia have insisted that they can provide solar water heating systems across the Caribbean, but have failed to do so, they really are put at a disadvantage – and I believe that to be so,” said Paulwell on the sidelines of an energy conference in New Kingston co-hosted by Future Energy and Guardsman Group.

“As energy minister I have put on the agenda, not only the removal of the CET in relation to petroleum products that will affect Trinidad & Tobago but also in relation to solar water heaters. There should be no reason why our people should have to bear the brunt of higher taxes because they are not able to get these suppliers in the Caribbean to provide for them,” Paulwell told The Gleaner.

Meanwhile the energy minister announced that his ministry is in the final stages of negotiations to bring in a second major investor in oil exploration in Jamaica.

The talks are to be completed by March, he said.

Tullow Oil is currently surveying the southwestern quadrant of Jamaican waters. Paulwell said the new explorer has shown interest in blocks in the southeastern quadrant.

neville.graham@gleanerjm.com