Guyana stands to join the top ten non-OPEC oil producing countries in the next few years. We are about to experience an economic explosion with our GDP set to increase by multiples in the early 2020’s. We are at the crossroads of development or bust. You see, we are not the first country to experience a resource windfall. What we need to ensure is that we take the path that leads to long term sustainable growth for all. This is not a guaranteed path! Other countries have experienced the “resource curse” whereby short-term riches peter out, leaving them worse off than they started out.
How do we avoid the resource curse?
One of the surest ways of avoiding it is investing in more than one sector. We cannot focus on oil alone! A key tool for the state will be a Sovereign Wealth Fund. This fund is an investment pot of with which the government can make investments that can grow our revenue. If managed well, this could potentially benefit Guyanese for generations to come!
CI is working with partners on building the government’s capacity for the development and management of a Sovereign Wealth Fund as well as building the capacity of key influencers from civil society, the private sector and Members of Parliament to understand best practice management of a Sovereign Wealth Fund.
The POPE Initiative aims to ensure that Guyana has a sturdy Sovereign Wealth Fund with policies and laws that not only meet international best practice standards but also receive widespread, non-partisan support from the National Assembly.
A solid Sovereign Wealth Fund has two main requirements:
- Government employees having the knowledge and skills to shape and implement sound legislation in the oil and gas sector;
- Non-government leaders and influencers having sound knowledge of policies and legislation in the oil and gas sector and the skills to debate and engage with the government on them.
A strong institutional framework for the oil and gas sector requires making informed decisions, detailed planning, strengthening our key institutions and using international best practice transparency guidelines.
With this in mind, CI is working with partners to develop an Oil and Gas Roundtable which would consist of all relevant stakeholders where informed, transparent and productive dialogue aimed at shaping decision-making in the sector would take place.
The Roundtable participants would have benefited from a series of workshops and seminars organized by CI involving renowned national and international experts in areas who can advise all relevant stakeholders on best practices in the sector, including reservoir management, revenue management, financial audit (e.g. costs of production), environmental and social safeguards for offshore operations and transparency.
What we are doing
- Creating an open space for a series of inclusive dialogue sessions that include civil society, the Government, academia, the private sector and the general public to discuss pressing issues in the oil and gas sector, including the Green Paper and the Natural Resource Fund Bill.
- Providing recommendations to the Ministry of Finance based on these dialogue sessions for consideration for oil and gas legislation that benefits all of Guyana.
Some of the partners we worked with on this project include:
- Ministry of Finance
- Civil Society
- Private Sector