PPP Govt has not “used a single dollar” from oil money – Bharrat

The People’s Progressive Party Government has not used a “single dollar from the oil proceeds as of today” Natural Resources Minister Vickram Bharrat said on Monday during a visit to Orealla, Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne).

Minister Vickram Bharrat speaking with two villagers on Monday

Bharrat and Agriculture Minister, Zulfikar Mustapha visited the community – Orealla-Siparuta – located along the Corentyne River. The Minister also spoke about the transportation of the community which he said will benefit from the oil and gas proceeds.
He noted that Orealla may not be “directly involved in oil and gas but you will benefit from the proceeds from oil and gas,” adding that the sector will be managed in a transparent manner.

Natural Resources Minister Vickram Bharrat and Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha on a boat ride to the Orealla-Siparuta community

So far, Guyana has received approximately US$150 million for three cargo lifts and two royalty payments for its oil and all deposited in the Natural Resource Fund.
After taking office, President Dr Irfaan Ali said that while Guyana has needs, a transparent framework must be set up, inclusive of establishing a Petroleum Commission, so that the Government can access the billions of Guyana dollars sitting in the NRF in the United States (US) Federal Reserve bank.
President Ali made it clear that the issue of transparency and accountability is of paramount importance when dealing with the Natural Resource Fund.
“Of course, the country has needs. The country is going through its own crisis with the COVID pandemic. We have a transformational set of investments that need to be made now, to create opportunities for the future, that would require us reaching into as much resources as we can,” Ali said.
“But importantly, is also the issue of transparency and accountability. Ensuring that the systems and institutions are in place before we utilise any resources. So that our country and our people can understand and it is done in an open and transparent way and there’s no secrecy behind the use of any resources. So those are the things we’re putting in place now,” the President had said.
The Natural Resource Fund Act stipulates that various committees must be established to provide oversight for the Fund. It is expected that this legislation will be reviewed by the current Government.

Meanwhile, also on Monday, the Natural Resources Minister announced that there are investors who are seeking to develop the Tarakuli bauxite deposit near the Orealla-Siparuta community.
“It (Tarakuli) is one of the largest bauxite deposits remaining in our country that is untouched,” the Minister said, adding that the bauxite in that area is of very high quality. This, he said, had led to discussions on the setting up of an alumina plant, which will add value.