Feeling proud: IMF lauds Guyana’s oil money transparency

Dear Editor,
Indeed, as a citizen of our amazing country Guyana, soon to be made greater than it is through the excellent administration and management of our oil resources and people by the administration of His Excellency President Dr. Irfaan Ali, this IMF (International Monetary Fund) report recognizing Guyana’s oil money transparency is a pleasure to my mind, to my heart, and to all Guyanese at large.
I cannot recall an economic period in recent times in which Guyana has ever enjoyed such strong financial support by the IMF.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) Report, in the concluding statements of its 2023 Article IV Consultations, published in Guyana Times of September 14, 2023, stated that the PPP/C Government has made progress in strengthening management and transparency in the oil sector. Further, this international financial body praised the Government’s work on the Natural Resources Fund (NRF) Act, which was amended in 2021. This act assisted in the transparency and accountability of the use of oil revenues. The act allowed for the appointment of the NRF Board of Directors, the Public Accountability and Oversight Committee, and the Investment Committee. These Committees have all worked to ensure transparency in the use of Guyana’s oil revenues.
The fact that Guyana transfers its oil revenues from the Natural Resources Fund to the budget, and reports the use of these funds in its budget documents, making public all receipts, speaks highly of the accountability of this Government in the area of the oil and gas sector to the Guyanese citizens. This process was highly praised by the IMF visiting team.
I must highlight that Guyana has made huge progress in implementing the recommendations from the 2019 Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) Reports and Standard. This called for consultations with stakeholders, and for making financial information on the oil and gas sector readily available to the general public. It is heartening to learn that the 1986 Petroleum Exploration and Production Act was recently modernised, electronically updated, and received parliamentary approval in August of this year.
Readers, this recently updated Act now calls for the subject minister to consult with the Cabinet and engage with neighbouring states regarding petroleum reservoirs that extend into their territories. The updated Act further calls for licensees to apply for a geological storage licence for carbon dioxide from the Government of Guyana before undertaking operations incidental to Carbon dioxide storage. In addition, under the present updated Act, Members of Parliament and their families are prohibited from acquiring or holding any legal equitable or beneficial interest in a petroleum licence.
Guyana has also been complimented by the IMF for developing and implementing its new Power Sharing Agreement (PSA), which would be used as a guideline now for the auctioning of the 14 new oil and gas blocks. These are all new administrative measures by the present Government to allow for a level playing field for all stakeholders. Which prevents conflicts of interest, increases the Government’s share of oil profits, and ultimately is essential for the development of the oil and gas industry. These international regulatory financial managerial steps auger well for Guyana to keep striding safely into the new millennium as an unmatched ‘oil and gas giant’.

Haji Dr Roshan Khan