‘No big guess’ about where oil money will be spent – Pres. Ali dismisses criticisms

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President Dr. Irfaan Ali has dismissed criticisms that new law amendments will allow the government to raid Guyana’s oil fund, stating instead that his government’s developmental priorities are well known.

According to the First Schedule of the proposed amendments, the government can, in the first instance, withdraw all oil revenues accumulated in the Natural Resource Fund (NRF) in the year that the new law comes into force. Thereafter, a limit will be set for future withdrawals.

Some concerns have been raised that the government intends to withdraw massive sums of money as soon as the amendments are passed – which could be as early as Wednesday.

But President Ali, during a virtual address on Tuesday, defended the proposed amendments to the NRF Act. He emphasised that none of the spending will be done without Parliamentary oversight, which includes input from the Parliamentary Opposition.

And he highlighted, “There is no big guess about what the expenditures will be.”

He reminded Guyanese that his government is focused on an aggressive developmental trajectory, aiming to facilitate massive infrastructural upgrades and to provide world-class social services to all Guyanese.

Oil sales and royalties thus far stand at US$534 million and are kept at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

As explained by Vice President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo, any withdrawals must be detailed in the annual budget proposals and the amount to be withdrawn should not include the various ceilings listed.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, President Ali assured Guyanese that the proposed amendments to the Act will ensure that there is a greater level of transparency and accountability in the management of Guyana oil revenues.

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