Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo, the Vice President, has expressed his expectation that the opposition will raise objections regarding the two-week consultation period for the draft 2023 Petroleum Activities Bill, similar to its previous stance on the draft new model production sharing agreements (PSAs) several months ago.

During a press conference held yesterday, Jagdeo highlighted that the bill has been made available for public consultation, which will span a duration of two weeks. While he acknowledged various comments on the bill, he anticipated that the opposition would claim the consultation timeline was “too short,” even though he personally found it easily digestible within a short timeframe.

Furthermore, Jagdeo emphasized that the bill is considerably shorter than its predecessor, as indicated by the feedback received thus far.

On March 14, the Ministry of Natural Resources released the two draft new model PSAs, initiating a public consultation process that invited the general public and stakeholders to provide suggestions and voice concerns. This process lasted for two weeks. Opposition members, including Norton took the opportunity to vehemently criticise the brief duration of the consultation period, advocating for a minimum of two months and comprehensive parliamentary review. They had even insinuated that the truncated timeline was an attempt by the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) government to maintain secrecy and facilitate corruption.

On April 13, Vice President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo clarified that the government was still accepting submissions on the PSAs, despite the official deadline having passed, noting that the government is still welcoming of comments from the opposition. However, to date, a submission is yet to be made.

Jagdeo has repeatedly referred to the opposition as “very lazy,” pointing out their failure to submit recommendations on key policies and legislative agendas. He even anticipated during his last press conference that they might attempt to raise issues when these policies are finalized, despite their limited engagement throughout the process.

The government is nearing the conclusion of the finalization of the two PSAs, and it remains to be seen whether the opposition will miss out on more significant opportunities to influence oil sector policies.


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