Guyana’s Minister of Natural Resources, Vickram Bharrat, has outlined a number of new policy directions for the extractive sectors including oil and gas aimed at strengthening technical capacities of the agencies that manage the new sector.
During a budget debate presentation in Guyana’s National Assembly on Tuesday, Mr. Bharrat reiterated that the Department of Energy, which had been established in August 2018 under the then Ministry of the Presidency, will now come under the oversight of the Ministry of Natural Resources and will be converted into a professional technical unit.
“Previously, the Department under the Ministry of Presidency was engaged in policy direction, technical and operational capacities and basically operated without guidance.” However, under the PPP/C administration, Mr. Bharrat stated that the Department of Energy will be converted into a professional technical unit to manage this new sector. “Eventually the department and the Petroleum Department at GGMC will be subsumed into the Petroleum Commission,” said a press release from the Ministry of Natural Resources.
In a recent comment to the media, Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo said that the Petroleum Commission will be established over the next six months. It will be mainly a technical commission as the need for this type of oversight is critical.
The Vice President said that the commission will have the “best brains”, most of which will be Guyanese, with foreign experts providing knowledge transfer to the locals.
The Natural Resources Minister reaffirmed the government is committed to strengthening institutional capacity and adopt a strong legislative and regulatory framework for the sustainable management of Guyana’s natural resources.
The Ministry of Natural Resources will continue to engage international experts and agencies, and developmental partners for the development of regulatory framework, prudent fiscal management policies, capacity building and transparent processes for good governance.
On the issue of transparency and governance, the government has committed to supporting the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) for which Guyana is in the process of preparing its 2nd Country Report. EITI is a tri-partite organization comprising government, industry and civil society to ensure that the monies earned from a country’s extractive sector are managed transparently for the benefit of the people of that country.