Govt on track with preparation for first oil – British High Commissioner

–  close to having critical legislation in place

–  investment in public infrastructure, health, education more lucrative than cash payouts

DPI, Guyana, Friday, August 24, 2018

British High Commissioner, Greg Quinn says the government is on track with preparations for first oil in 2020 especially as it relates to having critical legislation passed in the National Assembly.

Speaking during a press conference today at his residence, High Commissioner Quinn said, “Do I think things are moving in the right direction? Well, the answer is yes…Do I think there is a time pressure? The answer is yes… Do I think the government recognises that time pressure? Well, the answer to that will also be yes.”

High Commissioner Quinn said the fact that Guyana is close to having Local Content, Sovereign Wealth Fund and other legislation enacted, is demonstrative of its efforts to ensure a solid foundation before 2020.

Asked to share his thoughts on Dr. Clive Thomas’ proposal for Guyanese to receive cash payouts from some of the revenues accrued from the petroleum sector, the High Commissioner suggests the money be given for a more specific purpose.

“Rather than give somebody $5,000 to spend on whatever they want to spend it on. Do you consider giving somebody $5,000 to set up a business, You know to give them capital to set up a business. They can then use that money to support and build their own self-sufficiency,” he noted.

The British High Commissioner expressed his belief that investment in public infrastructure, health care services and education will be more lucrative to the wider population. He said people will see the benefits just as quickly and even more sustainably as if they were given money.

He added that the Green State Development Strategy (GSDS) not only replaces the old National Development Strategy but provides a long-term plan that covers development in all sectors.

Earlier this month, government laid its ‘Green’ paper on the Natural Resource Fund (NRF) which outlines how the petroleum sector will be prudently managed and highlights a number of agencies directly involved in this process.

The NRF will conform to the Santiago Principles, which consist of 24 generally accepted principles and practices which are voluntarily endorsed by the members of the International Forum of Sovereign Wealth Funds (SWF).

By: Stacy Carmichael

Images: Jameel Mohamed

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