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No PetroCaribe interest rate hike, says Paulwell

Published:Thursday | August 8, 2013 | 12:00 AM

Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Phillip Paulwell has refuted media reports of plans by the Government of Venezuela to increase the interest rate on loans provided under the PetroCaribe Agreement.

"We have been in contact with the Government of Venezuela through our Embassy in Caracas, and can confirm that no such decision has been taken," Paulwell said in a release to the media yesterday.

Recent media reports have suggested that PDVSA, the Venezuelan state-owned oil company would, starting in October, increase the interest rate on oil purchases by countries signatory to the 2005 PetroCaribe Agreement.

However, Paulwell said yesterday that the Government of Jamaica has been assured by the Venezuelan Foreign Office that any such action, if contemplated, would be discussed bilaterally or at the Summit of Heads prior to implementation.

The minister said no such plan was put forward at the most recent Summit of PetroCaribe Heads of State/Government held in Nicaragua, in June this year.