Dominican president moots fund to help poor nations buy oil


Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic) : Dominican President Leonel Fernandez has proposed a $40 billion fund to be made available on easy terms to poor countries to help them buy oil, EFE reported Sunday.

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Fernandez said at a press conference here Saturday that while high oil prices have pushed much of the world into a grave crisis, the oil producing countries are reaping a rich harvest from the price spiral.

“What I’m suggesting is that the (oil) producing and exporting countries set aside $40 billion of that $1.3 trillion surplus (revenue) so that the group of 57 countries with a per capita income of $6,000 or less has access to long-term, low-interest loans, concessions and investments through international financial organizations,” he said.

Fernandez included within the group of impoverished countries 14 in Latin America, including the Dominican Republic and Haiti, 25 in Africa, 15 in Asia and one in the Middle East.

The Dominican leader hailed Venezuela’s leftist President Hugo Chavez for setting up of the Petrocaribe – a Venezuelan-Caribbean oil alliance aimed at helping the Caribbean nations purchase oil on easy terms.

Petrocaribe was launched in 2005 for a preferential system of payment. The system allows the signatories to buy up to 185,000 barrels of Venezuelan oil per day on market value paying for only a part of it. The remainder is paid through a 25 year financing agreement on a nominal one percent interest.

In addition, it allows the alliance members to pay Venezuela in kind such as bananas, rice, and sugar.

Several Caribbean governments subsidize fuel for their peoples, who are also struggling with higher prices for basic food products.