Opposition MP says
– to lead, manage oil and gas industry
In mid-2020 Guyana could start producing commercial quantities of oil, and in that same year, the country will also be constitutionally due for another general election. Opposition Member of Parliament, Juan Edghill says Guyanese will have to choose then, which “team” is better to handle this important sector that could propel massive growth and development for the Guyanese economy.
Edghill told Guyana Times on Sunday that 2020 will be an important year for the aforementioned reasons, explaining that a competent Government would be required to manage the affairs of the economy, especially with the new addition of this sector, which could help to boost the country’s income and generate jobs for hundreds, if not thousands of Guyanese, from all walks of life.
“This will have to be an issue for the people of Guyana to determine, which will be the best team to lead this country to ensure its economic viability to come up with plans and engage the necessary expertise to ensure that Guyana favour most. The People’s Progressive Party/[Civic] (PPP/C) has however always been the better team and is ready and willing to properly manage this sector,” he posited.
The former Junior Finance Minister reflected on the progress made under the PPP/C Administration compared with that of the previous People’s National Congress (PNC) and that of the current coalition A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Government. “There is nothing to boast about,” Edghill said, while pointing out that the PPP/C has brought about significant changes and rapid development not only to coastland areas, but also in communities across Guyana.
Aside from that, Edghill said there has been growing incompetence within the current David Granger-led Administration when it comes to handling issues relating to the petroleum sector.
He opined that members of the coalition Government are not “prepared to handle” this enormous sector, explaining that they lack capacity at various levels. “I don’t think Government has the capacity. They are feeling their way and they don’t want to admit that they don’t have the capacity. It’s a pride issue,” the former Minister stated.
He also noted that the Government is dealing with a multibillion-dollar company which can hire the best skills from around the world and that Guyana should seek to have highly skilled professionals working alongside the Government whenever they meet with these oil companies.
“You have people in Government who are pretenders. They don’t know, they are not surrounding themselves with people who know and they are mouthing off clichés that doesn’t inspire confidence. And ExxonMobil will make rings around them and that is a great concern for us in this country.”
Edghill also agrees with Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo’s opinion that Government should release the contract it signed with ExxonMobil. He said once that is done, “We wouldn’t be talking percentage in a vacuum; we will be talking about this in the context of what the contract says. So, we are not exploring anymore. We have ideas of what quantities exist. Let us see the entire contract.”
Although the discovery of oil is welcoming, some Guyanese believe that Government should start taking the necessary steps towards the proper management of the resource. Guyana is poised to make huge profits from the oil industry, with the country projected to produce an estimated 100,000 barrels of oil per day. Annual profits, based on an average price of US$50 per barrel, could earn Guyana billions.
According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) 2017 Staff Report, 75 per cent of total oil revenues will be extracted by ExxonMobil for those costs. Of the 25 per cent left for distribution, based on the 50/50 sharing agreement, Exxon will get 12.5 per cent and Government 12.5 per cent.
Exxon’s oil find in Guyana has attracted international attention, with a number of seminars being held over time. In addition, assistance is being provided by the IMF to boost Guyana’s administrative capacity to handle the expected