Jan 01, 2021 News
– continues to keep mining contracts secret
Kaieteur News – The Government of Guyana has failed to make good on their promise to release the beneficial owners of the Kaieteur and Canje blocks—two lucrative oil concessions offshore Guyana caught in controversy for their less than transparent awards.
Vice President (VP) Bharrat Jagdeo, who holds an oversight responsibility for the oil and gas industry, had disclosed on November 7 that the government would have been making efforts to ascertain the beneficial owners of the oil blocks, and would look to have them disclosed before the end of 2020. This deadline is in keeping with requirements of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI).
During a press conference held at the Arthur Chung Convention Centre (ACCC), Dr. Jagdeo had said that the government intends to have a greater understanding of the ownership structure of the companies with the oil licences, while noting that this is important for transparency and for taxation purposes.
Further, Jagdeo had said that while a number of the companies which are operating Guyana’s oil blocks are registered in tax havens, including Barbados and the Cayman Islands, the government would have been doing their best to ensure it goes after their information to ensure they pay their fair share of taxes.
He had been reminded that, Guyana as a member of the EITI, is required to make public the names of the beneficial owners before year-end. Asked if Guyana will be able to meet this deadline, Jagdeo said it may be possible. However, up to press time yesterday, none of these disclosures had been made public. Those contracts from the mining sector are also yet to be released.
Kaieteur News would have reported that the call for the release of information on beneficial ownership was made by EITI in October.
The international body had said it decided to crack down on this global problem since hidden identities in the extractive sectors only help to feed corruption and tax evasion. It also added that people who live in resource-rich countries are at particular risk of losing out when facing this problem as extractive assets are too often misallocated for corrupt reasons.
The EITI had further noted that its standard requires public officials, also known as Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs), to be transparent about their ownership in oil, gas and mining companies.
The international watchdog had said that this information, once provided by its members, will be publicly available and will be published in EITI Reports and/or public registries.
Once published, EITI had said, law enforcers, civil society and others have a responsibility to scrutinize the information, and take action to hold to account those who misuse anonymous companies. It should be noted that countries which fail to honour the requirements of the international body could face expulsion.
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