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GCCI calls Govt out on inadequate preparation for first oil

first_img(GCCI) President Nicholas BoyerAcknowledging that the passage of the No-Confidence Motion would delay the full implementation of the necessary frameworks ahead of first oil slated for early 2020, President of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce (GCCI) Nicholas Boyer posited, however, that the governing coalition had sufficient time to put systems in place, especially since oil in commercial quantities was discovered simultaneously when it entered office over four years ago.“I don’t think we have the time but I think we should have been doing this from a while now because these things have been talked about for a year or two now. We can look at the date that the Petroleum Bill was laid over, we can look at the date the first consultant Anthony Paul was hired for the draft Local Content Policy. These didn’t start yesterday. So if I had to say if are we doing a good job in terms of implementing, (I’d say) no because we spent money, we’ve taken action and we failed (to put in place key regulatory infrastructures in place already),” Boyer told reporters on Wednesday.According to the GCCI President – who has always been critical of the pace at which preparation is being made for oil production— this failure is a result of the absence of pressure or push to get these things done.Another hindrance, Boyer contended, was the partisan approach that has been taken, such as in the Petroleum Commission Bill, which he said needed to be done in a national consensus way.“One of the big risks we have as Guyanese in our political climate is that the fight that’s going on is very acrimonious – the winner takes all. These things that we are discussing here has to be a national consensus… we can’t talk about development plans and they are going to be thrown out or not bought into. If we keep doing this in line with political cycles, we, the Guyanese, will be in trouble because we are losing out,” he stressed.The GCCI President noted that unless there is national consensus on important issues like the establishment of key legislative framework for the oil and gas sector, then matters such as a No-Confidence Motion will definitely have an impact on rolling out preparatory works.“(The Petroleum Commission) could’ve been implemented long before the No-Confidence Motion, and if it was bought to the Opposition by the Government – if they could have done it in a way to say “whatever fights we’re gonna have at elections time, let put that aside and let’s look at it as a national issue and come together”. They’d done it with Venezuela, to be fair, so there is example of that type of consensus before,” Boyer contended.Moreover, he went on to underscore the importance of having the necessary regulatory body, such as a Petroleum Commission, in place before first oil but noted that these bodies must be as independent as possible. The GCCI President pointed to the previous model of the Petroleum Commission Bill, which he said, gave too much ministerial control over the sector. To this end, he posited that management of this new resource needs to have very minimal political influence.“If anything, the headlines of the previous weeks have taught us is that this industry should be inoculated from political control as much as can be. You will always have some amount of political influence if you’re going to have an appointee to head the body. But if you take a model where that appointee is there for a period, outside of basic elections timeline, he can be relatively insulated and be comfortable that he can carry out his functions without fair of reprisal. Because at the end of the day, this is a national resource. This is not one political party’s or another political party’s resource,” the GCCI President stated.The Petroleum Commission of Guyana Bill was tabled in the National Assembly back in 2017 but had to be revised. Last year, Director of the Department of Energy within the Ministry of the Presidency had said that they were hoping to have the bill passed this year and establish the Commission.last_img read more

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