Concerns in Guyana about ExxonMobil “overblown”, Foreign Affairs Minister, Carl Greenidge to the WSJ
By Kaieteur News
Petroleumworld 07 02 2018
In one of its reports examining the impact future oil revenue will have on Guyana's economy, the Wall Street Journal interviewed several officials here. One of those individuals was Foreign Affairs Minister, Carl Greenidge.
During his interview with the international news agency, Greenidge was asked about the growing concerns here over the preparedness for oil and gas. But Greenidge made it clear that he believes the concerns are simply “overblown.”
He said the government is preparing to spend wisely, with lawmakers working on a sovereign-wealth fund to invest oil earnings in a country with average incomes of about $4,000 a year.
“I'm tired of people calling this the apocalypse,” Mr. Greenidge told the Wall Street Journal.
The Foreign Affairs Minister added, “There are people here who think oil is just a rumor, a fraud by Exxon. They're mixing black magic with economics.” (See full article here
Several local critics have bemoaned the state of preparedness by the APNU+AFC Government. Even international bodies have expressed concern over certain loopholes which exist for abuse by USA oil giant, ExxonMobil. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is one such agency.
It was early last year that several Government ministries and agencies such as the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA), the Ministries of Finance and Natural Resources and Bank of Guyana, received several recommendations that would go a long way in safeguarding billions of dollars in oil revenue to come.
But to date, very few of the crucial recommendations made by the International Monetary Fund have been implemented. In fact, the regulatory body had cause to point out again, that Guyana still needs to modernize revenue administration and strengthen public financial management capacity ahead of oil production.
The Fund said nonetheless that it is pleased the government will keep the aforementioned as critical near-term priorities. The Fund said that it stands ready to provide technical assistance where needed.
One of the IMF recommendations to the local authorities last year, specifically the Natural Resources Ministry, was to ensure the establishment of a cost recovery committee. It emphasized that this is necessary so that the government can be equipped to begin auditing of bills submitted by the oil and gas operator. But this is far from being in place.
Be that as it may, Finance Minister Winston Jordan noted that there would be a special accounting unit established at the Finance Ministry to track oil revenues. He said that this is necessary since the current accounting systems are simply inadequate.
He also noted that the Ministry has intentions to implement the other recommendations of the IMF as it relates to his sector.
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