Oct 08, 2016 News
The US Government has warned that there are no immediate plans to build an oil refinery here.
Speaking yesterday during an announcement of a US$297,000 ($60M) grant to push a
major transparency and accountability program for the extractive industries in Guyana, US Ambassador, Perry Holloway, echoed earlier statements of Exxon-Mobil that it will be largely up to Government here to create jobs.
“In terms of job creation, I want to take this opportunity to remind everyone that while this significant oil find will create jobs in Guyana, it is offshore and there are no initial plans for refining the oil in Guyana.”
The ambassador made it clear that the real significant job creations will come about from the revenue generated from the oil find.
“The government, in consultation with other key stakeholders will be able to decide in what sectors and projects the revenues are to be invested.”
According to the US Ambassador, some of the areas that Guyana can spend of those oil revenues will include investing in hydro power and other forms of renewable energy; modernising of health care facilities to improve health care and keep doctors in the country; better schools and universities and infrastructure projects like a deep water port and the road to Lethem to increase trade to Brazil.
The diplomat warned that the best way to avoid the so-called Dutch disease is to invest the oil revenues in a way that creates jobs and diversifies the economy.
“My point here is that in many ways, the Government and people of Guyana may have the best of both worlds- oil revenues and no limitations on where to guide job creation and growth.”
The ambassador was yesterday speaking to a number of Government officials, members of the Diplomatic community, donors and the media, during an early-morning press conference at the Kingston embassy.
The US$297,000 grant, Holloway said, is to formally announce the US efforts to support Guyana to prepare for the submission of its candidacy to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI).
Present were Minister of Foreign Affairs and Acting Prime Minister, Carl Greenidge; Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman and Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson.
The grant will be used for a 12-month programme- “Advancing Transparency and Accountability in Guyana’s Extractive”.
The grant is expected to assist Guyana to develop the candidacy documents required by EITI Secretariat.
The project will be implemented by the Carter Center, a US-based non-profit organisation, known for monitoring elections in Guyana.
“I am confident this programme will strengthen the work of the Government of Guyana in promoting transparency in the country’s extractive industries at a time when Guyana prepares to welcome future growth in the petroleum industry,” Holloway assured.
Meanwhile, according to Minister Trotman, EITI is critical as it is a widely-accepted international framework for strengthening transparency and accountability in the extractives sector.
“Adherence to, and implementation of, EITI as part of a menu of good governance measures, is important for Guyana’s economic and social development. Guyana’s economy is heavily based on extractive industries and the country is soon to become an oil and gas producing nation.
These resources belong to the people, are nonrenewable, and therefore will need to be managed very judiciously.”
Trotman assured that EITI will bring many benefits to Guyana. These include an improved investment climate, a signal to international investors that the government has a clear commitment to transparency and good governance, and strengthened accountability.
“Guyana’s entry into the EITI framework is not only because of oil, as our other resources must be better managed as well,” the minister said.
The official is hoping that by the end of this year, Guyana would make great strides in advancing not only its candidacy in the EITI, but more importantly, strengthening the good governance and transparency initiatives, and democratic fundamentals.
“Open, transparent and accountable governance of the extractive industries are integral to the sustainable development of Guyana, and we, as Guyanese, and in partnerships, must do what is right and necessary. The EITI is both right, and necessary.”
According to Jason Calder, Country Representative of the Carter Center, while his organisation is known for its elections work, it also has a history of engagements in other areas.
“The center’s involvement with the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) builds on over a decade of pioneering work on transparency and access to information at the global level and in more than 17 countries, and on long-term mining sector transparency projects in the Republic of Congo (DRC).”
Calder stressed that EITI is a global standard to promote open and accountable management of natural resources. According to the EITI website, there are currently 51 countries implementing the EITI standard and 31 of which are compliant. We look forward to Guyana eventually joining this grouping.”
According to a Carter Centre official, there are much more benefits from EITI.
“Reporting under the EITI also examines revenue collections, inter-governmental transfers, company social expenditures, the process for allocation licences and contracts, identifying the beneficial owners of companies in the extractive sector, and documenting the impact of the extractive industries on the economy.”
Calder noted that overtime, the role of EITI can be significant in setting and advancing the national agenda on issues of transparency and accountability can be significant.
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