Change Guyana promises Guyanese shareholding in oil sector, “special funds” for welfare

Change Guyana (CG) political party on Tuesday made a number of promises to ensure a “fair share ” of the country’s oil and gas resources are provided to ordinary Guyanese, while at the same time taking back all idle oil blocks and holding annual auctions with significant signing bonuses.

“All blocks for which investors’ commitments have not been delivered to date would be returned to state ownership. There is no speculation anymore on oil blocks,” CG presidential candidate, Robert Badal told a news conference at his Pegasus Hotel. He added that those blocks and unassigned blocks would be vested in a state-owned oil company, contracts would be awarded based on royalties and investors would have to pay local taxes like local companies.

Badal, a well-known hotelier and stockfeed manufacturer, said a CG administration would set up a national oil company in which Guyanese would be shareholders “from birth” “to give every Guyanese a stake in our oil resources and the benefits therefrom.” “Such shares would appreciate in value with every auction and every signing bonus. Sale of these shares may only be disposed to one’s family or the national oil company; no speculation in these shares,” said Badal, a chartered accountant.

In clear reference to the US$18 million signing bonus that government got from ExxonMobil at the time the first discovery was made, Badal said blocks would be auctioned annually to “realise the highest price with attractive signing bonus(es)”.

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