Impressive framework for oil & energy in Budget 2023 – GOGEC

…stage set for a strong, secure future for all Guyanese – FITUG

GOGEC President Manniram Prashad

Budget 2023 and the allocations made for the energy and oil sectors have been commended by the Guyana Oil & Gas Energy Chamber (GOGEC).
President of GOGEC, Manniram Prashad described Budget 2023 as well-put-together and aimed at advancing Guyana’s development while balancing the needs of the people.
Amounting to a whopping $781.9 billion, this is the first budget to be financed from the sale of carbon credit – the sum of $31.3 billion, representing 4.0 per cent of the total budget.
GOGEC said it supports the continued development of the Wales Gas-to-Shore project with the allocation of $43.4 billion for the construction of a 300-megawatt (MW) combined cycle gas turbine power plant, natural gas liquids plant, and associated facilities.

FITUG Head, Carvil Duncan

“The project represents a significant investment towards unlocking greater economic diversification and private sector transformation by reducing the cost of electricity by 50 per cent. It marks an essential step for a robust and technologically sophisticated manufacturing sector. Similarly, the energy cost-savings to households will ease income pressures and improve energy access and overall quality of life, especially for our vulnerable population. At the cost of US$1 billion, the project’s direct and indirect benefits will see a marked decline in overall consumer prices for food and other essential goods and services.”
GOGEC also recognised the immense improvement to both the reliability of electricity supply brought by gas and the improved stability needed to sequentially incorporate intermittent renewable energy systems, such as solar and wind.
By 2025, with 300MW of new baseload capacity provided with natural gas, the reliability of the Demerara-Berbice Interconnected System (DBIS) grid will increase while the Green House Gas (GHG) emissions associated with electricity generation will be reduced by half.
“The budget is also people-focused wherein this is demonstrated in the increases to the cash grants to the school children, pensioners, and other groups in the most vulnerable category. Important to note as well are the indirect benefits to the people through the public investment agenda – especially in the public healthcare sector, education and housing. These sectors combined were allocated some $233.9 billion, representing 30 per cent of the total budget.”

Secured Guyana for all
However, the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Guyana (FITUG) said that the stage is now set for a strong and secure future for all Guyanese.
“The Budget, expectedly, addressed a gamut of policies and touched on every area of national life aimed undoubtedly at enhancing the well-being of the ordinary people. This is laudable especially given the several challenges that the Irfaan Ali Administration inherited on its assumption to the office and the new difficulties that have since arisen,” it recognised.
It welcomed the improvement in the income tax threshold, which will see some 12,000 more persons not being required to pay income taxes while putting over three $3 billion in the pockets of our working people.
“We appreciate too improvements proposed regarding old age pensions and public assistance. These sums we are sure will undoubtedly aim to reduce some of the burdens faced by our society’s vulnerable. The investment in our children with yet another increase to the Because We Care grant also brings further relief to our people. We anticipate as our economy continues to record steady and impressive expansion in the coming years additional improvements would be forthcoming.”
The FITUG noted as well the substantial investment programmes towards the social sectors. Taken aggregately, a substantial proportion of the budget has been earmarked towards improving people’s standard of living in education, health, housing, water, and social services.
“These are critical investments that will go a long way to ensure our people benefit from our steady developments. The massive infrastructural programme will also enhance Guyanese comfort as well. We take keen note of the significant resources allocated to community infrastructure as efforts are hastened to build cohesive and strong communities. These are issues we had advanced in our proposals to the Administration and are heartened to see them taken onboard,” FITUG detailed.
Moreover, the Federation said the budget also paints an exciting future as well, with the gas-to-shore project meaningfully reducing electricity tariffs and the cost of living.
“Investments to consolidate our traditional sectors and expand non-traditional sectors portends improved economic opportunities for our workers. While enhancing our climate resilience will safeguard our people…The Federation is heartened by Budget 2023 more so considering that the substantial expansion of Government investments comes against the background of no new taxes. Indeed, the budget, we believe, has something in store for everyone.”