Gov’t says transparent, legal process used for forest-saving payments


See below full statement from the Ministry of Finance:

The PPP/C Government has publicly stated from the very inception of the work on the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS), that national processes, underpinned by the existing legal framework, where there is full scrutiny of the National Assembly, are to be used for all forest carbon credits revenues.

With the launch of the draft LCDS 2030 in October 2021 for consultations, Chapter 2 of the LCDS outlined the proposal for the use of national legislative and regulatory structures for the administration of all revenues to be earned from forest carbon financing. This was supported by all stakeholders through the seven months of consultations on this draft. This Strategy, with these provisions, was tabled in the National Assembly. In keeping with the commitments made in the LCDS 2030 and Resolution No. 45, adopted by the National Assembly on August 8, 2022, the National Assembly, including through its Committees, will have oversight of the investment of all national revenues received from forest climate markets and managed via the Consolidated Fund through the budgetary process.

Chapter 2 of the publicly available LCDS 2030, page 42 outlines in clear detail that: “All revenues will be transparently administered via the Consolidated Fund, enabling them to be scrutinised and approved by the National Assembly via the National Budget process.”

Chapter 2 on Page 42 further outlines how this is to be undertaken:

“To prepare for these new revenue flows, the first draft of the LCDS 2030 proposed that all revenues would be invested through a combination of:

– national programmes outlined in the draft LCDS 2030 (e.g. renewable energy as described in Chapter 3, land titling as described in Chapter 4, repairing canals and protecting against climate change as outlined in Chapter 5), and

– community/village-led programmes for indigenous peoples and local communities (IPLC) as set out in Village Sustainability Plans or equivalent, put together by communities themselves.”

This commitment was endorsed by Resolution 45 by the National Assembly, which further resolved (page 4):

“That the National Assembly, including through its Committees, will oversee the investment of all national revenues received from forest climate markets and managed via the Consolidated Fund through the budgetary process.”

Further, the PPP/C Government has further publicly stated, as issued in Press Release dated 11th January, 2022 that every payment and payment source will be communicated publicly at the point of payment, and at the point of transfer into the Consolidated Fund, when the payment value in Guyana Dollars will also be communicated. The Public Release also stated that:

In keeping with established budgetary process enshrined in law, the Minister of Finance shall request the National Assembly to approve withdrawals from the Consolidated Fund, which shall be included in the Annual Budget Proposal.

Adding even further transparency measures and reporting structures, the Press Release committed that:

All these transactions will be appropriately tagged with a unique identifier on the Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS) within the Ministry of Finance to enable the execution of annual audits.

By the way of proposals made in the draft LCDS for consultations, feedback received from the Guyanese public over seven (7) months, a Resolution by no higher an authority than the National Assembly, the commitment was made for all forest carbon financing to be publicly declared, transparently administered, and legally scrutinized. These processes represent everything that is required from best practice for strong financial management, transparency, and fiduciary arrangements, through Parliamentary processes and subject to both ex post and ax ante scrutiny as is fundamental to the national budgetary process.

Any view that seeks to distort or falsely represent the facts surrounding the structures that have been publicly communicated, legally grounded and anchored by transparency and accountability provisions of our Fiscal Management and Accountability Act including the work of our Public Account Committee with the deliberate intent to mislead the public, as in the case of the Kaieteur News articled Govt . snatches first carbon credit payment to prop up Budget 2023” published January 14, 2023, is disingenuous and dangerous. These views seek to diminish what our Government stands for, which is for all revenues to be used for the national good of all our people, using national processes, in a fully transparent manner. These earnings and revenues must follow national processes and be used for the national good of our people. The National Budget is the way to serve the people of Guyana and it should be strongly resisted, if any other process were to be used, with any less scrutiny than the current process has, and with any less public disclosure than this process has been underpinned by.

Forest carbon revenues and the approach being applied represent every facet of a transparent and legally underpinned process for the allocation and utilization of carbon credits revenues using Guyana’s national system for doing so – the National Budgetary Process. It also represents a stark contrast to the very recent practices of the previous Administration where the signing bonus on Oil Contracts were not declared and hidden away, subject to no scrutiny or financial structure, understood to be a gift by some, devoid of any recognition of legal requirements such as the national budgetary process and Parliamentary oversight.

Guyana is a global leader in the effort to combat climate change, with the PPP/C Government’s commitment within the framework of the LCDS 2030 to tackle the climate crisis while simultaneously fostering and accelerating broad-based and sustainable growth. The PPP/C Government remains committed to managing Guyana’s resources in a clear and transparent and accountable manner, to the benefit of present and future generations.

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