The Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) is facing a considerable challenge as its staff members are being lured away by higher salaries being offered by oil companies in the country’s booming oil and gas sector. This revelation was made by GRA’s Commissioner General, Godfrey Statia, as he addressed the critical concern during today’s session of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).
Statia informed the committee that despite their efforts to build capacity and oversee the local oil and gas industry, the tax agency has experienced a significant loss of trained personnel. Within the past year alone, at least five skilled accountants have left the agency, enticed by the promise of greater pay in the private sector.
It has been revealed that companies such as CNOOC, a co-venturer in the Stabroek Block, have successfully recruited staff directly from the GRA, offering salaries that surpass even that of Commissioner General Statia and top officials in his office.
To tackle this ongoing predicament, GRA has attempted to raise wages for specific positions in an effort to retain valuable talent. Despite these measures, the challenge of staff retention persists.
During the PAC meeting, concerns were raised regarding whether GRA resorts to contracting employees to prevent further attrition. However, Statia expressed reservations about such an approach, fearing its impact on employee motivation and job commitment. Instead, the agency has been relying on appealing to workers’ sense of patriotism and dedication to public service to encourage them to stay.
This predicament has raised questions about the feasibility of this approach in the face of the lucrative offers made by oil companies. Nevertheless, Statia highlighted the agency’s ongoing efforts to attract staff for cost recovery audits and acknowledged the assistance received from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in staff training to address the resource gap.