There are several agencies in Guyana which hold responsibility for auditing the oil and gas sector. These include The Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA), the Audit Office, and the Finance Ministry’s Cost Recovery Committee. When the Petroleum Commission is established, this body will also be tasked with some level of cost auditing for the sector.
But the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has issued a notice to the recently established Energy Department stating that there needs to be clearly defined roles for the respective agencies while ensuring that there is strengthened interagency coordination on petroleum revenue administration. It also lamented the fact that its 2016 recommendation to implement mechanisms that facilitate the exchange of information and expertise across government remains unaddressed.
The Fund said, “Government needs to allocate as soon as possible, the central responsibility for cost auditing to a single agency—preferably the tax authority, given its revenue collection mandate and audit expertise. If this is not possible, formalize the cooperation and information exchange between the agencies involved in petroleum revenue administration, ideally in a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). Any ambiguity, overlap, and duplication of functions need to be eliminated.”
Further to this, the IMF warned that unclear audit roles and responsibilities may also weaken accountability. It said that it also holds the potential to undermine the government’s integrity.