As Guyana continues with the development of its oil bonanza, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said it is critical that the new producer mitigates any rise in corruption levels as this ultimately undermines overall growth.
In a recent report, the Fund commended Guyana for advancing steps that demonstrated its commitment to transparency. On the legislative front, the Washington-based agency said the country criminalised the non-publication of oil receipts by the finance minister under the Natural Resource Fund law.
IMF Staff also noted the authorities’ progress in strengthening fiscal transparency with the re-establishment of the Integrity Commission. In this respect, the Fund said asset declarations of many public officials have been submitted annually, and public procurement tenders are streamed live.
Regarding Guyana’s compliance with the 2019 Standards of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), IMF staff urged the authorities to improve the information sharing and publication of extractive industries’ financial statements, move towards electronic disclosures and more closely follow up on recommendations to encourage accountability.
Authorities in Guyana said they are committed to further strengthening governance, particularly on EITI. They told the IMF that they recognise that following up adequately on EITI recommendations is critical. Prioritisation will be needed as capacity is built over time, they contended.
Additionally, the government said it is committed to accelerating the electronic publication of key information on procurement contracts, establishing a bidders’ register, and publishing audit reports of public expenditures including COVID-19 funds. The government also said it will further strengthen mechanisms and processes for required follow-up.
Moreover, the government said it intends to increase public awareness about the functions of its anti-corruption framework including increasing the efficiency of the Integrity Commission and the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB).
It said the foregoing, among other efforts, will no doubt ensure Guyana is well positioned to mitigate corruption.