Private sector told to shape up to spend oil revenues

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As the conversation continues about what should be done with the incoming oil revenues, the need for increased capacity in both the public and private sector was highlighted by Budget Director, Sonya Roopnauth.

Roopnauth during her address at a discussion forum on the Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) at the Pegasus Hotel on Thursday, urged the private sector to increase its capacity to benefit from the significant revenue being generated from the oil and gas sector.

“Right now, we have money in the budget allocated last year and the private sector is still struggling to figure out how are we going to spend this money even though it is something they requested,” the Budget Director told a room filled with private and public officials.

Though the Budget Director acknowledged that the Government also has capacity issues, she explained that projects are awarded to private businesses which often times fail to meet deadlines.

“The private sector person will tender for a project here and tender for a project in Region Y and then suddenly discover they can’t manage both projects,” Roopnauth noted.

She explained that this problem is not new as it has been this way for decades. As such, she said the challenge is to expand capacity.

“How do we make sure projects get finished on time and delivering value for money and delivering a good product?” she questioned.

Other Government and private sector officials in the past have pointed to the need for businesses to step up their game to supply the oil and gas sector since international standards are required by the businesses operating in the industry.

The Government is currently conducting Budget consultations ahead of the 2019 National Budget which will be presented before the end of this year.

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