Monday, July 4, 2022

ExxonMobil cost-recovery audits will be done, locals must be involved, says Vice President

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Guyana’s Vice President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo said the Government is seeking to assemble a group of strong local auditors to collaborate with an international firm for the audit of ExxonMobil’s post-2017 costs.

“We have made it clear what our intention is, to have local people involved,” the VP said on Wednesday.

The government came in for criticism lately from sections of Guyanese civil society because it hasn’t yet contracted a firm.

Earlier this month, Dr. Jagdeo told reporters that the government is disappointed that it was not able to select a capable local firm from the first bid round.

The opposition subsequently filed a motion in Parliament seeking to compel the government to provide answers about the audit process. The Vice President later called out the opposition for not building state capacity to conduct the audits and for waiting four years to contract a firm to audit the pre-2017 costs.

The new Government says intends to build the capacity of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) to conduct the cost-recovery audits, in addition to finding capable local firms.

Dr. Jagdeo said some local firms vied for the contract to audit the post-2017 costs, but they were not considered strong enough.

The Vice President gave an assurance that the audit will be conducted, and that Guyana’s interests will be protected, once the local auditing group has been assembled.

The government’s public calls for expressions of interest had noted that it is looking for a local firm, and an international one experienced in joint venture audits.

“The government recognises that strong local content achievement is important to the Guyanese people, and its efforts to gather capable local auditors would give effect to that in a practical way,” the Department of Public Information said in a statement.

The Vice President is expected to comment further on the matter in the near future.

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