Exploration Country Manager of Repsol Exploration Guyana S.A. Ryan Ramjit, believes that while the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) is “no silver bullet” it is extremely important for enhancing transparency and accountability.
He was speaking on Saturday July 15, 2017 during an outreach of the Guyana Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative held at the Linden Mayor and Town Council.
Ramjet said that the report that the EITI process is meant to produce will allow the citizens of the country – the owners of the resource – to know how much of the revenue from the resources has been received and how much the Government receives from the economic rent for the exploration of natural resources. “It keeps everyone honest,” he said.
Ramjit who sits on the Multi-Stakeholder Group (MSG) representing industry, noted too that the EITI will seek to ensure that all of the companies in the extractive sector pay their fair share of taxes. Industry, together with civil society and government comprise the tri-partite MSG.
Ramjit explained that the mandate of the EITI has evolved from just ensuring that what companies pay and what governments receives match up to ensuring that communities benefit from the extraction of natural resources. As such, he said that the EITI is intended also to create an atmosphere where the Government and the community can have clear discussions on how these monies are being spent.
Touching on political risk, he said that EITI reduces this and makes a country more attractive to investors. “Guyana, being in the EITI, ensuring that communities are engaged, that citizens are engaged, will understand where the resources are going…where the taxes are going from these resources, allows a society that can support further investment,” he said.
Ramjet likened transparency to a beacon which signals to ships that Guyana is a safe port at which to land. “It is a signal to the world to say that Guyana is committed to transparency. Again, this attracts investment,” he stressed.
However, Ramjit sounded this warning, “I want to caution you however that it is not a silver bullet…it will not solve everything and it takes a long time to engage with your leaders to get this right. This is a voluntary standard and we (Repsol) volunteered to be a part of it.”
The GYEITI roadshow continues in Charity in Essequibo in Monday July 17, 2017 and on Thursday July 20, 2017 in Georgetown.