More than US$ 500M expected in the NRF by year end -Min. Bharrat
Minister of Natural Resources, Vickram Bharrat, MP, says Guyana is expected to see more than US $500 million in its Natural Resources Fund (NRF) by the end of the year, further advancing the country’s economy.
Guyana is also expecting another lift of a million barrels of oil in three weeks and another million before the end of the year. Both lifts average about US$ 70 million, the minister said.
Addressing Toshaos at the recent Regional Toshaos Meeting in Lethem Region Nine, Minister Bharrat said the current US $436,000 lies untouched in the NRF.
“You can say safely that before the ending of 2021 we will have nearly half billion USD in the Natural Resource Fund, that is intact and not a dollar has been spent from it.
“As of right now, we have US $436 Million in Natural Resource Fund, that is the proceeds or the revenue that our country would have, gained from the sale of its crude, we would have completed seven lifts.”
The Toshaos had enquired about the status of the NRF.He saidso far, seven million barrels of oil was sold on behalf of the Government of Guyana.
“From the sale of the seven million barrels of oil, added to that the royalties that we would have received, we have a total of US$436 million that is sitting in what is called the sovereign wealth fund.
“I’m happy to say to you, that your government, our government has not spent a single dollar from this proceed, we have not spent a single cent from the Natural Resource Fund so we have, intact, US$436 million in this account that belongs to Guyana and Guyanese,” he added.
Minister Bharrat noted that the President, Vice President and other leaders have made it clear that no money would be spent from the fund unless there is parliamentary approval.
The minister reminded the village leaders that the ‘Natural Resource Fund Act’ was passed in the National Assembly in early 2019, following the successful passage of the confidence motion on December 21,2018.
He said the PPP/C which was in opposition at the time, was not participating in parliament as the APNU+AFC Administration was functioning ‘illegally’ taking Bills before the parliament in the absence of the opposition.
“One of such bill was the Natural Resource Bill, so it was passed without us, without our scrutiny, without our scrutiny in the National Assembly, and we are not satisfied, that this act now has enough provision to ensure that there is proper transparency and accountability with the oil revenue, and that is why we kept our commitment, that we are not going to spend any money from it until we repeal or we amend the Natural Resource Act, to ensure that there is parliamentary approval ,before we spend money from this fund,” Minister Bharrat told the Toshaos.
Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall, SC, MP, is currently working on the amendments to the Natural Resource Fund Bill, to have it re-tabled.
Meanwhile, Minister Bharrat said Guyana is expecting the arrival of another Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO), the Liza Unity which left Singapore last Friday and will arrive in Guyana’s waters shortly.
The Lisa Destiny which is currently in operation produces 120,000 barrels of oil per day, the Liza Unity will produce 220,000 barrels of oil per day.
“So next year we will be producing 340 thousand barrels of oil per day, by the second quarter of next year we will be producing that amount of oil,” Minister Bharrat said.
The minister also informed the Toshaos that another FPSO, the Prosperity is expected and will also produce 220,000 barrels of oil per day, putting Guyana in a position to produce 560, 000 barrels of oil per day.
“So that is why we need to ensure that when monies are taken from the Natural Resource Fund, that there is proper accountability and transparency and there is parliamentary oversight, and I say that because the opposition is part of the parliament, so they themselves can lend scrutiny to how we spend.”
Minister Bharrat said the PPP/C Administration is committed to total transparency and accountability in the oil and gas sector.