At midyear, $900m col­lected from oil and gas in­dus­try - Jor­dan

Stabroek News - - LETTERS -

At this year’s half­way mark, gov­ern­ment had col­lected $900m from ac­tiv­i­ties con­nected to the oil and gas in­dus­try, Min­is­ter of Fi­nance Win­ston Jor­dan re­vealed on Wednesday while not­ing that work to es­tab­lish the Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) is pro­gress­ing.

Speak­ing to re­porters dur­ing a press con­fer­ence at his of­fice, he said that ap­prox­i­mately $900m has been col­lected and this fig­ure in­cludes sums from the “res­o­lu­tion of one or two is­sues that were pend­ing with some of the companies”.

He also up­dated re­porters on the cre­ation of the SWF.

Jor­dan said that last year the Com­mon­wealth Sec­re­tar­iat sub­mit­ted a draft to gov­ern­ment on which there was some feed­back. He said that gov­ern­ment en­deav­oured in­ter­nally to put to­gether an al­ter­na­tive to that draft. Both drafts he said were handed over to the Min­istry of Fi­nance in Jan­uary.

“They (Com­mon­wealth) have come up with some ex­ten­sive com­ments …what we have done in-house is to form a team that would col­late all of these com­ments, put them to­gether...and then we will ex­tend this whole batch to the Com­mon­wealth …”, he said while ad­mit­ting all this is hap­pen­ing with­out there be­ing a frame­work in place.

“So we have put the cart be­fore the horse”, he said, not­ing that gov­ern­ment has since asked the In­ter­na­tional Mone­tary Fund (IMF) to as­sist in this area and the re­sponse was that a rep­re­sen­ta­tive should be vis­it­ing Guyana no later than Fe­bru­ary 2018. He is also sched­uled to meet with a Com­mon­wealth con­sul­tant this week.

“We hope to have all of this done next year for this fund to be pre­sented to the pub­lic after we would have gone through cab­i­net and the AG cham­bers…ei­ther for pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion or via the par­lia­ment first and then maybe (a) se­lect com­mit­tee”, he said, while stress­ing that the fund is not an ur­gent need.

“Oil is still a way off. Let us get this right….on the one hand when you rush things out es­pe­cially with­out the re­quired con­sul­ta­tions you get a lot of licks”, he said.

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