Vice President, Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo has acknowledged that the four-month timeline for the completion of the audit for ExxonMobil Guyana’s post-2018 bills does appear short. Be that as it may, the senior government official assured that the timeline can be extended to ensure auditors hired can properly scrutinise approximately US$9B in expenses.
Dr. Jagdeo said, “It did look a little short to me as well and I am not sure where it came from. Perhaps the Natural Resources Ministry has a particular explanation, but I don’t see it as a hindrance. If they require six months or a year we would accede to that request; if it is an obstacle that can be changed.”
As regards any issues pertaining to recoverable and nonrecoverable items, and noncompliance on the part of the oil companies, the Vice President noted that he is quite cautious when speaking publicly about any costs that may be recovered or exempted under the Production Sharing Agreement (PSA). He noted that these are technical matters which ought to be treated with care and be left in the hands of the tax and accounting officials.
It was in May that a local consortium consisting of Ramdihal and Haynes Chartered Accounting and Professional Services Firm, Vitality Accounting and Consultancy Inc., and Eclisar Financial & Professional Services was hired to audit the costs of the Exxon-led Stabroek Block consortium for the period 2018-2020.
They will be partnering with the Oklahoma-based Martindale Consultants Inc. and the Swiss technical company, SGS, which is leading the project.
The value of the contract is US$751,000.
The partnership is expected to provide Guyana with the knowledge base needed to eventually execute such works independently in the future.
Natural Resources Minister, Vickram Bharrat has assured that once the audit is complete a report on same would be made public.