Aug 09, 2020 News Comments Off on Govt. to limit political overreach in oil industry with Petroleum Commission
President Irfaan Ali yesterday touted plans of the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) Government for the establishment of a Petroleum Commission, during the feature address of his inauguration.
PPP/C General Secretary, Bharrat Jagdeo, had been a staunch advocate for such a Commission during his time as Leader of the Opposition.
“We are conscious that the proceeds of this bounty must be managed in a transparent way that will assure the people of Guyana that they will be the beneficiaries in a fair and equitable manner,” the President said.
The Commission is to be established, he assured, “to ensure that the oil and gas sector is not subjected to undue political interference.”
The purpose of a Petroleum Commission is regulation, similarly how the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) oversees mining.
A draft Petroleum Commission Bill made under the former A Partnership For National Unity+Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) Government had stated that the Commission is needed “to monitor and regulate the efficient, safe, effective and environmentally responsible exploration, development and production of petroleum in Guyana.”
However, the draft Bill was criticized in 2017, more notably by Attorney-at-Law and Chartered Accountant, Christopher Ram. He had opined that the provisions in the draft demonstrated “legal laziness” and that even more worrying, were those seeking to grant excessive powers to the subject Minister.
In one regard, he had explained that under the draft, the Minister would not only choose who he wants as directors but also determine the resources at their disposal.
Due to discourse on the Bill, it was sent to be adjusted by a special Parliamentary Committee. Until now, the draft Bill continues to languish in Parliament.
In the absence of the Commission, the oil industry is being managed by several agencies, principally the Department of Energy.
The PPP/C has said that the former Government failed to adequately prepare the country’s petroleum regulatory infrastructure, and has committed to making necessary preparations swiftly.
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