…Says we can’t only park money for ABC countries to invest
Former Government Minister, Manzoor Nadir believes that Guyanese should have a say in the management of oil revenues and suggests that Government should hold a referendum on the topical issue of cash payments to citizens.
There has been ongoing public debate on the issue of ‘direct cash transfers’ following a suggestion from political economist, Prof. Clive Thomas, who suggested that US$5,000 per year from oil revenues should go directly to poor households.
“Guyanese must benefit directly from the revenues from our natural resources. While in the past we have not given portions of our natural resource income to our people, with oil revenue it is different,” Nadir stated.
He said he does not support the term cash transfers because monies are not moving between accounts, but it is really a share of the nation’s wealth to the people. According to Nadir, his position will conflict with some of his political colleagues, but Guyanese have sacrificed for far too long.
“We are now speaking of hundreds of millions of US dollars. For generations our people have suffered. They have been told to tighten their belt and they have sacrificed,” Nadir outlined.
He added, “Every devaluation that happens in the country it is the hard-earn sweat and blood money of people whose value evaporates, literally, into thin air. It is time that when a windfall comes along that we as a nation give some of that directly for the people.”
He said that he understands the benefits of direct cash payments having benefited from such while studying at the University of Alberta, Canada where he was educated for Can$250 due to the direct tuition payments to the university from oil revenues.
According to Nadir, since last October, he has shared the view that one percent or half of the royalties from oil should go to the people, particularly in cash payments to pensioners, school children, police and nurses.
The former minister used the projections from Exxon of 25% of total oil income will be shared. Nadir reasoned that from the initial minimum production of 120,000 barrels of oil per day at $60 per barrel, the royalty would be US$52M. He stated 26M of that amount could go directly to the poorer categories of citizens.
Nadir expressed the view that whoever is in government will lower the income tax rate, provide better social services, including healthcare. However, he believes that for the first 10 years, oil revenue, minus the direct payments and the Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) should be plowed into the country for massive and rapid development of infrastructure, communication, tourism, education and health.
“We can’t be parking money in a bank account for the Americans, the British, the Canadians and the Russians to invest, make money for themselves and give us a meager sum. For the first 10 years our oil revenues should go directly into improving the standard of living of people, improving the environment, physical and natural to eliminate hardships like flooding. We must not have dirt roads anymore for farms to market; nor transportation means that limp along,” Nadir stated.
Oct 16, 2018By Sean Devers in Trinidad In association with Regal, Vnet, Noble House Seafoods & Cascadia Hotel In murky conditions and played before virtually empty stands, Guyana Jaguars, led by a 79-run...
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