Govt wants ordinary man to benefit from oil wealth – Jordan

first_imgGovernment has recommitted itself to ensuring that persons at the grassroots level are educated properly about the benefits that could be accrued from the emerging oil and gas sector.While acknowledging that mostly negative things have been said about this sector in Guyana, Finance Minister Winston Jordan has said Government wants the narrative to change.The minister said the administration will begin to exploit the conversation about theFinance Minister Winston Jordanbenefits of oil to the local Guyanese economy, so that ordinary Guyanese would have a better understanding.“…we have not heard in the press a conversation about how we can use this windfall for everybody. So I am happy to hear here at the grassroots level (that) people have areas (they want to see developed),” he said.Jordan said the aim would be to get Guyanese to accept that a huge bonanza is coming, and start the discussion with regard to how these resources could be used to lift Guyana out of the chaos. The minister is hoping that more discussions regarding these positive benefits could start this year. He said Government is looking to build a green economy from finances earned from this sector.In addition to that, Government would be looking to enhance the use of clean energy with the use of natural gas, which would benefit the entire country.Bridging the coast with the hinterland is an important task that Government wants to get done.“As you know, that was inherited at Independence, and it continues. Getting into the hinterland is a major stress, both by road and aircraft,” he complained bitterly.As part of its clean energy programme, Jordan said, Guyana would benefit greatly from natural gas. The plan is to set up an industrial park to utilize LPG gas, which may be distributed locally at a cheaper cost.The money gained from the oil sector would also be utilised in keys sectors, such as education and health. Improvements in information and communication technology could also be achieved.“And, most of all, we are looking to establish medium-to-large-scale industries. Finally, if we get the energy going, we could smelter our own bauxite, instead of selling raw materials all the time.”In agriculture, monies from the sector could be used to improve on valued added.Jordan said that, hopefully, with these additional resources, Guyana could also complete the four-lane road that links Guyana to Brazil, and build a deep water harbour to advance trade between the two countries.Many economists and financial analysts have said that Guyana’s pending oil production would yield significant revenue, which can create a large number of jobs in the manufacturing of value-added agricultural products and the development of its physical infrastructure.The Commonwealth Secretariat, among other major international partners, has been advising the Government — through the Natural Resources Ministry — on the legislative and institutional reforms required to regulate Guyana’s emerging oil and gas industry.The secretariat’s legal and economic experts have advised on draft legislation for the Sovereign Wealth Fund, a draft National Upstream Oil and Gas Policy, and a revision of Guyana’s Petroleum Exploration and Production Act and Regulations. However, the policy is still in its draft stage.Only recently, Government was caught misleading the public when a letter was leaked in the press showing that the Government had set up a private bank account to store US$18 million from ExxonMobil.The Government later came out confirming that the account was set up a year ago, although repeatedly knowledge of its existence had been denied. The US$18 million was a signing bonus received in 2016.ExxonMobil announced it made a fifth new oil discovery after drilling the Turbot-1 well offshore Guyana. Turbot is ExxonMobil’s latest discovery to date in the country, adding to previous finds.last_img

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