Guyana does not use the UNDP report to avoid corruption, abuses in the oil sector
Four years later…
By Kiana Wilburg
Kaieteur News – In response to a request in 2016 to help Guyana reach good legal, regulatory, contractual and fiscal measures needed to keep pollution at bay, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) commissioned an analysis to make on the state of the nation’s systems of government.
The follow-up report of the review carried out was entitled “A Rapid Analysis of the Readiness of the Guyana Hydrocarbon Regulatory Framework.” It was produced by Trinidadian energy strategist Anthony Paul.
But, after four years of owning this document, which offers close to 100 critical recommendations on how Guyana must protect itself, nothing had been done.
That report, considered for years by Kaieteur News, was keen to point out that the demands and expectations of government to manage the sector, especially when one considers the size of the resources found, are enormous.
He notes that applications for new licenses and exploration have accelerated, despite the fall in oil prices. In light of this, Paul stated in his analysis that the implementation, field approval and subsequent development of oil field development plans for oil projects will require very significant human and other resources.
Paul highlighted, however, that Guyana has very limited capacity in this area, adding that its laws, contracts and institutions are outdated and under-resourced to meet the demands of forthcoming activities.
The industry expert was keen to point out that improving the basic components of the country’s petroleum governance system, that is, its legal and institutional frameworks is fundamental to the successful management of oil reserves. If the country fails in this regard, Paul noted that Guyana would be left exposed to the risks of corruption and abuse as well as a very significant loss of value.
Among his many recommendations was a call for the frequent use of Guyana’s parliamentary sectoral committees on natural resources and economics. Paul emphasized that these committees can be effective regulatory tools for the sector.
In capturing value, Paul said Guyana needs to implement systems that will allow it to make the right decisions on various issues such as the right rate of production and depletion of resources, getting the best possible contract terms for Guyana, ensuring companies are made in an environmentally responsible and social way, and ensure that local people develop the maximum capacity to enable their participation.
In managing revenue, the Trinidadian Strategist said that Guyana would also have to urgently put in place mechanisms, which will allow for the effective collection of all oil revenues due to the State, ensuring at one time prudent spending by improving infrastructure, services and capacity. for future sustainability as well as delivering savings for future generations.
In addition, Paul was keen to point out that the authorities of the day must make every effort to ensure that they inform Guyanese how and when they make decisions about the oil resources. He said the citizen is required to make these decisions in their best interests.
He also said Guyanese must insist that the government implement systems to ensure transparency and accountability to all organizations tasked with spending the oil money and regulating industry performance.
All in all, Paul’s report highlights the need for Guyana to make urgent reforms, otherwise, the nation stands to lose billions more, and that is beyond what is already being lost through the prolific Stabroek Block deal.