At midyear, $900m collected from oil and gas industry – Jordan

At this year’s halfway mark, government had collected $900m from activities connected to the oil and gas industry, Minister of Finance Winston Jordan revealed on Wednesday while noting that work to establish the Sovereign Wealth Fund  (SWF) is progressing.

Speaking to reporters during a press conference at his office, he said that approximately $900m has been collected and this figure includes sums from the “resolution of one or two issues that were pending with some of the companies”.

He also updated reporters on the creation of the SWF.

Jordan said that last year the Common-wealth Secretariat submitted a draft to government on which there was some feedback. He said that government endeavoured internally to put together an alternative to that draft. Both drafts he said were handed over to the Ministry of Finance in January.

“They (Commonwealth) have come up with some extensive comments …what we have done in-house is to form a team that would collate all of these comments, put them together…and then we will extend this whole batch to the Common-wealth …”, he said while admitting all this is happening without there being a framework in place.

“So we have put the cart before the horse”, he said, noting that government has since asked the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to assist in this area and the response was that a representative should be visiting Guyana no later than February 2018. He is also scheduled to meet with a Commonwealth consultant this week.

“We hope to have all of this done next year for this fund to be presented to the public after we would have gone through cabinet and the AG chambers…either for public consultation or via the parliament first and then maybe (a) select committee”, he said, while stressing that the fund is not an urgent need.

“Oil is still a way off. Let us get this right….on the one hand when you rush things out especially without the required consultations you get a lot of licks”, he said.

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