Ministerial Caucus on oil sector strategy met core objectives

DPI, GUYANA, Thursday, March 29, 2018

State Minister, Joseph Harmon today reported that the High-level Ministerial caucus on the oil and gas sector strategy hosted on March 21, 2018, at State House, which included presentations from a mixed panel of local and international experts, including Professor of Economics, Sir Paul Collier, and Sir Shridath Ramphal, met its core objectives.

Minister of State, Joseph Harmon addressing the media during post-Cabinet press conference.

According to Minister Harmon, the caucus aimed to build high-level awareness of the key issues relating to the oil and gas sector, to frame Guyana’s key strategic choices related to each of these issues and to provide a blueprint for the sector’s development.

Discussions were conducted in this regard.

“The experts dealt with issues and challenges that have been conquered relating to the emerging oil and gas sector. Some of these issues were the organisation and management of the sector, challenges that we encountered, oil and gas production and its implications for Guyana’s green growth agenda and preservation and augmentation of Guyana’s national wealth from oil revenues,” the minister explained.

The State Minister further explained that Government felt it was necessary to bring the experts together at one forum to facilitate a holistic presentation on the identifiable issues.

Going forward, members of the government who are not part of the Cabinet and permanent secretaries of ministries will be advised on key points emanating from the caucus for their individual benefits.

Responding to a question posed by the media, Minister Harmon said, “you do not have these caucuses for the sake of having a caucus, it allows you to be advised and to be able to understand better the industry that we are looking at”.

Meanwhile, the minister said the establishment of the Department of Energy, which will fall under the purview of the Ministry of the Presidency is still a work in progress. He however made it clear that the Government’s activity, as it relates to the oil and gas sector, has not been placed on hold.

“There are elements already in the system that are now part of the Ministry of Natural Resources, who will be incorporated into the Department so that the work within the sector continues, while we are continuing to build capacity and have the best skills employed,” he clarified.

Importantly, the Government will, in an incremental way provide information on the emerging petroleum industry to feed the information needs of the ordinary Guyanese, whose views are respected.

He made reference to outreaches conducted by various government agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Civil Defence Commission (CDC) aimed at creating awareness on the new sector.

He added that President David Granger and other ministers have said that the proceeds for the sector are expected to benefit the ordinary Guyanese.

“It is going to affect the public transportation, it will affect our public infrastructure in a positive way, it will affect our delivery of healthcare to the people of this country, it will affect the education of our people in a positive way.”

The agriculture industry will also benefit majorly from these proceeds, the minister emphasised.

 

By: Stacy Carmichael

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