‘We will have a SWF long before first oil’ – Trotman

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Raphael Trotman, Minister of Natural Resources

Minister with responsibility for petroleum in Guyana, Raphael Trotman, has assured that the South American country will have a fully established and functional Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) “long before” oil production gets underway in 2020.

Mr. Trotman’s remarks come in wake of calls from US Ambassador to Guyana Perry Holloway, for authorities to prioritize the establishment of the SWF, which elicited a terse response from the country’s Finance Minister, Winston Jordan, just over 2 weeks ago.

Speaking to OilNOW in a recent interview, Mr. Trotman said he and Mr. Jordan had traveled to Uganda in 2017 and met with experts there to study how the African country had formulated their SWF. Chatham House and the Commonwealth Secretariat, he said, also assisted in the development of draft legislation for the establishment of the fund and thereafter the IMF and World Bank became involved with their input. “So I happen to know – I’ve seen the latest draft just about 2 months ago – that a lot of work is being done. A lot of it is the financial modelling…so I would expect in due course; long before the end of 2018, the Minister of Finance will bring that bill to Cabinet and then to the public,” he said.

Writing in a March 13 Op-Ed, Ambassador Holloway said the urgency of establishing a revenue and investment framework that effectively manages the expected windfall from oil production “cannot be understated.”

Mr. Trotman however assured that the SWF is on track to be functional before US oil major ExxonMobil begins production by March 2020. “What is most important is that long before we have oil in 2020 we will have a Sovereign Wealth Fund and many countries did not do so. They did it afterwards. We intend to have one in place, with Parliamentary blessing and approval before 2020,” he stated.