Attorney-at-Law and Oil and Gas Academic, Charles Ramson recently pointed out that Guyana will have to amend its Constitution to avoid any fiscal complications that may arise with the creation of a Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF).
Acknowledging that portions of Guyana’s oil revenue will be placed into the SWF that Government of Guyana has promised to establish, Ramson reasoned that this will go against the spirit of Article 216 of the Constitution. Article 216 states, “All revenues or other moneys raised or received by Guyana (not being revenues or other moneys that are payable, by or under an Act of Parliament, into some other fund established for any specific purpose or that may, by or under such an Act, be retained by the authority that received them for the purpose of defraying the expenses of that authority) shall be paid into and form one Consolidated Fund.”
The Oil and Gas Academic noted that the clash between the requirements of the SWF and the Consolidated Fund requires attention since the infamous US$18M signing bonus was a victim of a similar line of argument.
Ramson recalled that the signing bonus that government received in 2016 from USA oil giant, ExxonMobil was not transferred to the Consolidated Fund. It was kept in a special account at Bank of Guyana.
The Lawyer added, “I won’t attempt to interpret that (Whether the depositing of the money into that account is illegal or not) because it is sub judice; but at some point, this will be an issue.”