Oil funds will remain untouched until reforms are enacted – President

Flashback- The fuel hose leads from the Liza Destiny to the Cap Philippe for the transfer of Guyana’s first million barrels of crude 

President Irfaan has assured that monies garnered from Guyana’s oil and gas sector will remain untouched in the Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) until a series of reforms are enacted to strengthen the Government’s regulatory infrastructure for the oil and gas sector.

The President made this disclosure following his keynote address to the Forecast on Latin America and the Caribbean Conference, hosted by the Association of American Chambers of Commerce and Latin America and the Caribbean (AACCLA) on Thursday.

“My Government is focused heavily on transparency and accountability. As you know, we have demonstrated this after the negotiations of the license for the Payara. Not only did we make the agreement public, but we also made the environmental permit public, so nothing is done in secrecy.

“I’ve said before, there’ll be an arm’s length relationship with the politicians. We had international experts, leading those negotiations and discussions,” the Head of State was quoted by the Office of President as saying.

He explained, “We have the technical people who we are training to manage the resources from the oil and gas sector. You know, we already spoke about the establishment of the Petroleum Commission, which will be managed by highly trained technical personnel.

“And of course the Sovereign Wealth Fund is important, in terms of not only the securing and safeguarding the funds but also establishing the conditions and the circumstances, through legislation, on which resources will be used.”

The President noted too that as an important partner in development, the Private Sector has an equal stake and responsibility in how the economy is managed.

According to the Office of the President, Dr Ali also committed to ensuring “openness and frankness” in dealing with governance issues.

Guyana is emerging as an oil and gas nation.  This preparation requires the building of human and institutional capacity, crafting and agreeing to some critical policies and legal measures and pursuing strong support and coordination amongst a number of governmental and non-governmental agencies.

In keeping with its manifesto commitments, the Government has pledged to implement a number of measures to ensure accountable and transparent management of the country’s natural resources including, establishing an arm’s length Sovereign Wealth Fund insulated from political interference and upholding the Santiago Principles of transparency and accountability, and the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI)