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Guyanese will not be short-changed
by oil companies, says VP Jagdeo

Guyana Chronicle

Jagdeo said ExxonMobil will be held responsible for the work of its sub-contractors as legislations will ensure rigid supervision in relation to local content.

By Guyana Chronicle

Petroleumworld 08 24 2020

Guyanese will not be short-changed by oil companies, says VP Jagdeo.

Oil revenues must be used to build the economy of the future which must feature supportive infrastructure such as good transport, deep-water harbours and modern airports as well as to strengthen the productive sectors.

This is according to Vice-President (VP), Bharrat Jagdeo, during an online radio programme Thursday evening.

He specifically noted that monies from oil resources must be used to strengthen the agriculture, manufacturing and the tourism sectors to make them globally competitive so that years from now Guyana is not totally dependent on oil.

The vice-president also emphasised that transparency in the oil and gas sector cannot be compromised because it will affect future growth and the wellbeing of Guyanese.
“The oil resources have to be spent in a fashion that that doesn't create the Dutch disease where relative prices are changed and kills the competitiveness of other sectors,” Jagdeo noted.

Mr. Jagdeo stressed that oil revenues will be spent to improve the lives of the citizenry and government will pass local content legislations that will address the issues of the business community and ordinary Guyanese.

During the online radio programme, the former President said enough has not been done to allow Guyanese to benefit from the developments taking place.

“Guyanese are doing the same job and they get less pay. That can't happen in the future. Secondly, there are lots of work that can be done by Guyanese companies that are sub-contracted to foreign companies. I understand that a Guyanese company at this time can't build an FPSO, but they can definitely provide a whole range of services that are now contacted out to foreign companies,” the VP explained.

He is hoping that before yearend, there are draft legislations before Parliament to address local content and driving more business and jobs for Guyanese.

“We want the oil companies to prosper but Guyanese must share that prosperity,” Mr. Jagdeo said, contending that, “If we don't, we might as well shut down the sector if we don't share the prosperity.”

He pointed out that Trinidadian and other foreign sub-contractors receive duty -free concessions from the oil companies along with other favourable concessions which give them an advantage over Guyanese.

“A Guyanese may want to build a warehouse but never received a duty-free concession and therefore they have to compete with a company that has concessions and that has to change,” Mr. Jagdeo said.

Going forward, Jagdeo said ExxonMobil will be held responsible for the work of its sub-contractors as legislations will ensure rigid supervision in relation to local content.

There are also plans for consultation with the public, along with setting up a working group to addresses issues surrounding the oil sector.

In addition, government will ensure that technical agencies engage the oil companies on technical matters in a bid to minimise the contact between the politicians and the oil companies.

Mr. Jagdeo said the ministers will only deal with policy guidelines but negotiations will be done by technical personnel and all spending will be gazetted.

The APNU+AFC administration, he said, had destroyed the institution for contracts as many were dealt with outside of tender board.

“When you undermine the procedure for awarding contracts, you don't advertise or selective tendering are done with only three people in your office like the Ulita Moore contract, then there is room for an enormous amount of corruption,” Jagdeo said.

The new government, he said, must now return to implement safeguards in relation to audits, tendering and regulations for contracts.

One example, he noted is that NICIL has not had an audit in five years under the APNU+AFC government.

President Irfaan Ali, Jagdeo said, has already issued a directive to all his ministers and other officials that they must act transparently.

He said many of the future oil contracts will have transparency provisions which will also show what the finances are being used for.

Mr. Jagdeo also said that the capacity of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will be enhanced and there will be an institutional approach while moving to a petroleum commission which would be a technical commission that will overlook and monitor contracts.

“So there is less ministerial and political involvement,” he noted.

Government will also provide scholarships for Guyanese to be trained and oil companies must share that cost, Mr. Jagdeo said, adding that oil companies must provide funds for Guyana to build capacity to improve and monitor the sector.

Story from Guyana Chronicle 08 22 2020


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