State firms pay out $119m in bonuses
by Richard Lord
MORE than $119 million was paid out in bonuses to top management in State enterprises over the five-year period 1997 to 2001, Junior Finance Minister Ken Valley revealed in a post-Cabinet news conference at Whitehall yesterday.
Valley said the matter was discussed two weeks ago in Cabinet.
He told reporters the bonuses were paid out “in some cases by companies which were losing money, by companies with no policy with respect to bonus (payments), by companies where the existing (bonus) policy was not followed”.
The five companies which awarded the most bonuses over the period were the Petroleum Company of Trinidad and Tobago (Petrotrin), First Citizens Bank (FCB), Plipdeco, the National Gas Company (NGC), and the National Petroleum Marketing Company Ltd (NP).
Petrotrin paid a total of $46.9 million in bonuses for the five-year period. That figure represented 39 per cent of the total for all the enterprises.
For the five-year period, FCB paid bonuses amounting to $27 million, Plipdeco paid $12.6 million, while NGC paid $41.7 million and NP paid more than $9 million.
A Cabinet Minute revealed that another State enterprise, MTS, “paid an average of 39 per cent of its profits as bonus. In 2001, MTS paid bonuses equivalent to more than 60 per cent of its unaudited profits”.
Valley also commented at the news conference on the management letter by the Auditor General on the bonus payments to former Tidco president Vishnu Ramlogan.
He said Ramlogan’s salary and not the bonuses was the issue.
A Cabinet committee headed by Minister Conrad Enill has been set up to deal with the matter of bonus payments.
Valley recommended to Cabinet that in future “all wholly-owned and majority-owned State enterprises and statutory boards, in addition to indirectly owned State enterprises, be required to seek approval of the ministerial committee for future bonus payments”.
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