Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman, is all for citizens benefiting directly from the oil revenues that will come Guyana’s way but he says any form of cash handouts should be tied to a few conditions.

During an exclusive interview with the Guyana Standard recently, Trotman said, “I am very much a proponent of citizens receiving direct benefits from the oil revenue but I believe such benefits should be tied to social responsibility, such as payment of taxes, enrolment in school and university, and should be given as special grants for youth empowerment and for the elderly and indigent.”

Trotman, who is the Leader of the Alliance for Change (AFC), argued that there are good and bad examples around the world of how wealth can be distributed from natural resource windfalls. He opined that these examples should not be ignored but ultimately, Guyana will have to choose what’s best for its economy and overall development.

The Minister said, “The Ministry of Finance is off to an excellent start with the Natural Resources Fund [NRF] that will see payments from the fund into the Consolidated Fund for social and infrastructural development. As we progress in time, we can make adjustments so that there is always guaranteed equality in benefit sharing.”

The cash handouts matter was first raised by Economist and Presidential Advisor on Sustainable Development Dr. Clive Thomas in August 2018. He had expressed the view that a portion of the oil money should be set aside so that the less fortunate could benefit from a direct transfer. He recommended that US$5000 could be given out per year to every poor household.

As an economist, Vice-President Carl Greenidge, has also been a proponent of cash handouts. He told the Guyana Standard that cash handouts to citizens using a portion of the oil money to come is not only possible but feasible, depending on the arrangement being used.


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