With Guyana already earning billions of dollars from its oil industry, Minister of Natural Resources Vickram Bharrat has assured that systems will be put in place to ensure the funds are not “squandered” or “misused”.
He announced, during the opening ceremony of Caribbean Virtual Oil and Gas Summit (CARVIS, that the government will among other things, uphold the Santiago Principles of transparency and accountability, and the Extractive Industry Transparency Index.
Additionally, he said the government will criminalize non-disclosure of receipt of funds from oil revenues and ensure annual reports from the Government are laid in the National Assembly detailing oil revenues and expenditures.
Further, he committed to ensuring there are regular audits and that the government involves civil society in a central role to monitor compliance and accountability.
“The oil resource, as all Guyana’s natural resources, belongs to the people of Guyana. Our Government will ensure that oil revenues works for all Guyanese, and is spent on improving people’s lives and wealth generation,” he stated.
According to Minister Bharrat, some areas in which oil revenues will be directed are: support for job creation; world class education and health care systems; social and economic infrastructure; targeted cash transfer to Guyanese particularly the elderly, children, the poor and other vulnerable groups; strong local content with legislative safeguards; savings for future generations; and tax reduction for local businesses and individuals.
Guyana has already received payment from its first three lifts and two royalty payments totaling over US$144 million. These monies have been deposited into the Natural Resource Fund.