Oil revenues will be spent on improving the livelihoods of Guyanese
“The oil resource belongs to the people of Guyana. We will ensure that oil revenue works for all Guyanese, and is spent on improving people’s lives and in support of job creation,” Minister of Public Works, Hon. Bishop Juan Edghill
Minister Edghill made these statements in his Budget presentation[AS1] on Wednesday for the remaining fiscal year 2020.
In his presentation, the Minister said oil revenues will be invested in creating job opportunities[AS2] ; providing a world class education and healthcare for Guyanese; boosting the social and economic infrastructure; providing targeted cash transfers to persons, particularly the elderly, children, the poor and other vulnerable groups; ensuring a strong local content policy with legislative safeguards; garnering savings for future generations and reducing taxes for businesses and individuals.
Minister Edghill committed that the Government
“will approach the oil and gas sector in a national, non-partisan manner.”
“Oil and gas will bring not only significant financial resources and enormous transformational opportunities, but also many challenges,”
the Minister asserted, even as he asserted the Government’s strategy for proper management of the resource, transparency and accountability, and securing benefits for Guyanese.
“The PPP/C will immediately engage the oil and gas companies in better contract administration, renegotiation; establish an arm’s length SWF [Sovereign Wealth Fund] insulated from political interference; define, by legislation, how funds will flow from the SWF into the budget, and the purpose for which they will be used; ensure that expenditures are transparently determined and go through the parliamentary process,” Minister Edghill said.
He also said the Government will establish a model PSA [Production Sharing Agreement] based on industry-wide standards and best practices. “The purpose of this is to ensure that Guyanese receive maximum benefit from these contracts without disincentivizing foreign investors in the sector,” he noted. Further, the Minister said, the Government intends to train thousands of Guyanese at every level “to create a national core of managers and workforce to chart the future direction and effectively manage the sector.”
Additionally, to prevent oil money from being squandered or stolen, Minister Edghill said the PPP/C will among other things, uphold the Santiago Principles of transparency and accountability and Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI); criminalise non-disclosure of receipt of funds from oil revenues; ensure annual reports from the Government are laid in the National Assembly detailing oil revenues and expenditures and ensure there are regular audits, Minister Edghill said.
The Public Works Minister committed that civil society will be involved in a central role to monitor compliance and accountability.