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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

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The Philippine government is considering selling its remaining 40 percent stake in oil refiner Petron to raise money to help the poor, Finance Secretary Margarito Teves said Tuesday.

"We hope to raise 30 billion pesos (678 million dollars) from privatisation this year," Teves said in a statement.

He said Petron, the country's largest oil refiner, and PNOC-EC, the oil exploration arm of the government's Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC), had not been part of the state assets planned to be privatised.

"However we are looking at the possibility of selling these assets should we need more resources to help the poor cope with rising oil and food prices," Teves said.

The government has been offering subsidies to help the poor in the payment of electrical bills and fuel. However critics say this system will have only minimal benefits for the neediest.

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