Petroleum Advisor to the Government, Matthew Wilks, is of the firm view that Guyana is not getting the most from foreign advisory services on oil and gas.

In fact, the Oil and Gas Consultant said that “from almost every corner of the world,” foreign donors and technical advisers are clamouring at the government’s feet to offer guidance and capacity-building support to help prepare the country for the next stages of petroleum sector development.

The Petroleum Advisor said that this assistance can be invaluable in enabling Guyana to establish appropriate rules and institutions to oversee the development of resources and build capacity to be successful. But for optimum effect, Wilks stressed that these services must be coordinated and directed by governments themselves. The official said that this is what is woefully missing from Guyana’s approach, as such, the nation is not benefitting as it should.

The Petroleum Advisor said, “In some cases, you can say Guyana received too much unsolicited advice. This results in ‘advice fatigue’ and confusion. Each assistance provider wants individual attention from senior civil servants, which puts a heavy time and administrative burden on these individuals…All the assistance providers also want to advise officials in multiple institutions, unbothered about the repetition that is taking place for some exercises…”

Wilks added, “This problem of lack of coordination is compounded by the fact that multiple assistance providers are offering their services simultaneously, or in succession, without building on the assistance already offered…”

While all of this is taking place, Wilks said that government still has an outstanding task, which is to think through its vision for the petroleum sector, the policies that follow from that, and their needs in terms of technical information, capacity-building and advice. Once this is done, Wilks said that the government would be able to decipher on its own, what is demand-led advice and what is simply supply-led. “In the meantime, we are drowning in a sea of the latter,” the official expressed.


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