Head of State, Dr. Mohammed Irfaan Ali has assured that the long-awaited Local Content Bill and the amended Natural Resource Fund Law will be tabled in the National Assembly by year-end.
The President provided this update during his latest engagement that was held with members of the media on Friday. As he provided details on the developments from his most recent bilateral meetings, the President was keen to note that the government will receive technical teams from Ghana, the experts of which will provide Guyana with advice on two key aspects of the nation’s legislative armory (the NRF and Local Content Bills) for the oil and gas sector.
During the Thursday launching of the draft Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS-2030, the President was also keen to acknowledge the role of the government in making every effort to ensure transparency and accountability are the overarching principles of the sector.
The Head of State said, “My Government recognizes the responsibility that comes with this opportunity. We are deeply aware of our duty to manage the industry carefully and strategically. That is why over the coming months, we will finalize the legislation to improve the Natural Resources Fund and embed world-class standards of transparency in our management of oil and gas revenues.”
Ali said the new legislation will enable a certain amount of oil revenue to be invested in critical development priorities while adding that the remainder of the revenue will be saved for the future “so that our children and their children can benefit for many years to come.”
Taking this into consideration, Ali said it, therefore, means, that over the coming decade, with resources from the oil and gas sector, his government will make the highest level of investment in health and education that Guyana has ever seen. In the short term, he said investment in both health and education is critical to the recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Over the longer term, he said the administration will augment basic education investments with new support for technical and vocational skills, with a particular focus on strengthening digital skills for a rapidly digitizing economy. The President said he is of the firm conviction that investment in health care can change the situation where too many people suffer from curable illnesses or die prematurely. Within ten years, he assured that a portion of the oil money would be transferred from the NRF to ensure Guyana’s health system can be as good as anywhere in the world.
At the same time, he said the government intends to invest in continued diversification of the economy by supporting non-oil sectors and areas of the country away from the coastline. Ali said this will involve support for physical infrastructure – including river, road, and air transport networks; the electricity grids; the national digital connectivity network; and more. The President said it will also involve repairing coastal and hinterland climate protection infrastructure, as well as targeted support for agricultural expansion in non-forested parts of the country to enable Guyana to become self-sufficient in key agricultural products as well as an exporter to regional markets and beyond.
Ali is of the view that this investment will put Guyana on a long-term trajectory to sustain one of the highest growth rates in the world, create wealth for all and put the days when Guyana could not afford to run its Government even further in the past.