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(Trinidad Guardian) Two ministers in the previous People’s Partnership government have sharly criticised Minister of Finance Colm Imbert for his assertion that that administration “hid” $4.2 billion in losses at state-owned Petrotrin by treating the losses as a deferred tax asset.

In answering questions on the order paper in the Senate on Tuesday, Imbert also said the oil company had significant unpaid tax liabilities to the government.

Former Energy Minister Kevin Ramnarine noted that the losses to which Imbert referred were due to cost overruns in projects under the previous People’s National Movement administration between 2007 and 2010.

According to Ramnarine: “A ‘deferred tax asset’ is recorded on the balance sheet if it is expected that the company would in the near future make a profit and have taxable income against which the deferred tax asset could be applied. That is to say, the deferred tax asset can be used. It is clear therefore that in 2015, the auditors believed that Petrotrin would return to profitability and therefore have taxable income to which the deferred tax asset could be applied.

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