“One of the biggest problems oil producing nations face is that the governing party is usually scared to denounce the actions of the operators…And unless an audit case goes to court, there is no public reporting of audit activities or results. It is a problem that has plagued Peru, Kenya, and Ghana… Sadly, Guyana is already on that path.”
This is according to Oxfam America’s Director, Ian Gary during an interview with the Guyana Standard today. The Oil Expert stressed that Guyana is prone to being worse off if it does not set rules and regulations with stiff penalties to ensure that audit results are in place.
Gary said, “I read that the Government is looking for a company to do the cost recovery audits. They have shortlisted the companies but why haven’t they named them? What is there to hide? This level of contempt for citizens’ rights to information would not take place in the USA or the UK…”
The Oxfam Director also flagged the fact that key IMF reports on the nation’s resources are being treated as “top secret” when this should not be the case.
Gary added, “This is not good news for Guyana. It is like Kenya and Ghana all over again. Fiscal audit transparency is necessary and should be insisted upon by civil society, by the Parliament, by every journalist…”
The Oxfam Director said that in over 40 nations he and his team have done analysis on, citizens were outraged when they got a hold of the audit reports that were done. He said that in some cases, the audit reports were lenient to the oil operator. He said this was discovered after further checks were done on the said reports.
Gary said, too, that the media should be allowed an opportunity to conduct the necessary background checks on any firm the government selects to do the audits or to engage on any activity for the oil sector.