Cabinet approves Green Paper on how Fund will manage oil revenue

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A Green Paper outlining how the proposed Natural Resources Fund will manage oil revenue is to be laid in the National Assembly shortly, following its approval by the Cabinet.

State Minister, Joseph Harmon

The paper, Minister of State, Joseph Harmon said on Monday during a post cabinet presser, is designed to stimulate discussion and to put forward key issues for consideration relating to legislation regarding how best to spend and save the considerable revenues expected once the oil begins to flow in early 2020.

The legislation now close to completion will be sent to the National Assembly before the end of this year.

The Green Paper includes information on why a Natural Resources Fund is necessary and proposes long and short-term plans to deal with fiscal and financial issues related to oil and gas revenues. Options for resource allocation, including setting levels of disbursements for development projects are included in the paper.

It was presented for a second time to the Cabinet on Tuesday by Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan.

when asked to give details on exactly what areas of spending have been proposed, Harmon said that it would be used to fund budgetary programmes.

“So the proposal is that all revenue will not go directly to any particular sector, but it will go directly through the fund and then the Ministry of Finance in preparation for the budget will call upon the fund projects that are being identified. So that’s the way it’s going to be,” Harmon pronounced.

“In so far as investments are concerned, right now we haven’t made any decisions as to the entity that will be managing that process. But the investment basically is intended to be safe investments, so that the money just don’t remain there, that it is invested in face investments that will allow the country to benefit from this fund.”

According to Harmon, the money will go towards ‘safe’ investments. He assured, however, that determining the amount going towards investment and development will be determined during consultations.

Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan, had informed reporters last month that the Green Paper – a report on Government’s proposals – was presented to Cabinet to be reviewed. Jordan had noted that a second review would have been done at the next Cabinet meeting on July 31.

“We will revise the paper in time for presentation to the last Parliament, which is on or before August 10, 2018,” he explained, adding that the draft legislation for the Fund is with the Attorney General’s Chambers.

“Once the AG’s Chambers are finished with that bill, it will get its review at Cabinet, and then we will put it out for consultations. We will take back whatever comments and then we will revise the bill and make it ready for Parliament,” he had explained, adding that the bill will be laid in the National Assembly by the year’s end.

ExxonMobil recently announced that it has increased its estimate of the discovered recoverable resources for the Stabroek Block offshore Guyana to more than 4 billion oil-equivalent barrels and has advanced its evaluation to support a third phase of development and consideration of two additional phases.

The previous recoverable resources estimate was 3.2 billion oil-equivalent barrels.

In a statement, the oil giant said that the increase follows the completion of testing at the Liza-5 appraisal well, a discovery at Ranger, incorporation of the eighth discovery, Longtail, into the Turbot area evaluation and completion of the Pacora discovery evaluation.

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