Of particular importance is a plan to direct monies from the sale of exploration rights into a fund owned by the government and people of Guyana, in which every Guyanese person would be a shareholder from birth.
At their weekly press conference January 7, 2020, the Change Guyana founders unveiled details of how they would ensure the revenues from oil exports benefit Guyana today and in the future. Following is the text of Robert Badal’s statement.
Change Guyana’s objective is to ensure a fair share of our oil & gas resources for our people and propel Guyana among the league of progressive countries.
We applaud the success of ExxonMobil and its partners Hess and CNOOC in discovering and bringing this world class resource to production, and encourage their leaders to continue their partnership with the people of Guyana.
Our oil and gas reserves are indeed world class and must be exploited for the benefit of both sides. While we feel that our leaders could have negotiated a better deal for the people of Guyana, the commencement of production has put Guyana on the map and will bring enormous benefits to our people.
As responsible Leaders we want to engage Exxon and its partners and all oil majors to continually enhance the benefits accruing to our country.
Our plans include:
Oil & Gas Resources
- Negotiating a better deal over time on all existing contracts
- All blocks for which the investors commitments were not delivered to date would be returned to state ownership
- These blocks and all unassigned blocks would be vested in a state-owned National Oil company (NOC)
- Blocks would be auctioned periodically to realize the highest price with attractive signing bonuses
- Contracts governing these blocks will be royalty based, with the investors subject to our local taxes just like local companies
- Good governance, transparency and openness would underlie all such arrangements
- Every citizen of Guyana would be assigned shares in the NOC from birth. Such shares would appreciate in value with every Auction and signing bonus. Sales of these shares may only be disposed of to one’s family or the NOC. This will give every Guyanese a stake in our oil resources and the benefits therefrom.
Management of Oil Revenues
Given that oil resources are finite and will be depleted over time, the management of the revenue therefrom is of utmost importance to ensure sustainable long-term development, economic and otherwise.
Given the history of rampant corruption under the PPP and APNU/PNC, new and adequate controls are vital to prevent misuse, theft, wastage and the discretionary abuse by any Government.
Our revenue management plans are as follows:
- In year 2020 to 2022 revenues from oil would be used to uplift the income levels of all employed through reduction in income taxes, improvements in health care, education and urgently needed infrastructural works including a bridge across the Demerara River
- From 2023 the Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) will be activated. A portion of the annual income from oil will be appropriated to this fund by parliamentary approval. The balance would be appropriated to specific Funds, an infrastructural development fund, a Healthcare fund, an education fund, an agricultural and industrial development fund.
- The Minister of Finance will only have access to these specialized funds. Any draw-down from the SWF would require parliamentary approval
- This would ensure better planning, transparency and accountability, and best safeguard of our people’s interest
- A special allocation, a Welfare Fund, would be made to finance a safety net for depressed communities, single parents and the more vulnerable in our society
Our focus is development around oil and gas to ensure that after the oil is depleted our economy is strong, resilient and fulfills our promises to future generations.
This means developing world-class infrastructure. The physical infrastructure includes networks of roads, highways and bridges that connect all communities; and ports and airports to maintain affordable and reliable ties globally. It also means telecommunications and digital infrastructure;, healthcare, electricity and water supplies.
It means creating a low-tax destination that attracts large scale investments in agriculture, manufacturing, fisheries and forestry, bauxite, gold and other minerals. It means a highly trained, efficient and independent civil service, independent Central Bank and judiciary.
It means a culture of governance that serves, instead of being served; honest; a system that guarantees and delivers on fundamental rights of freedom that works for all.
That’s the development and the Governance Change Guyana brings.
We will propel Guyana among the league of progressive countries.