The Guyana Oil Company (GUYOIL) has come in for high praise for its significant contributions to the economy over the years. Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan, said with challenges often faced by government in the financing of its “Good Life” programmes, economic contributions from companies such as GUYOIL is welcomed.
Jordan was at the time speaking at GUYOIL’s 40th Anniversary and Awards ceremony held at the Pegasus Hotel on Friday.
Commenting on the company’s performance, the finance minister said he is heartened by its contributions to the national coffers. “Indeed, over the last fiscal year, GUYOIL contributed over 2 billion dollars in taxes and dividends to the central government revenues making GUYOIL the largest contributor among the public enterprises,” he said.
In addition to the impressive statistics and achievements, Jordan said the company has been able to keep prices below that of its competitors and has developed a reputation as a reliable supplier of quality products.
“We at the ministry applaud your efforts. We look forward to your continued performances, aided of course by stellar governance, excellence in management, and outstanding operations, as these would help to accelerate development in our country and allow our government to deliver increased benefits to the nation,” he pointed out.
But even as he highlighted the company’s achievements, Jordan identified some of the challenges faced by Guyana’s heavy dependence on imported fossil fuels.
“As we celebrate our accomplishments, let us not forget rising oil imports without concomitant increases in export revenues would widen our balance of payment deficit. This would be inevitable once we continue to rely heavily on imported fossil fuels to power our development. Lowering our dependence on oil is thus an ecological necessity and a technological challenge which Guyana’s economic policy cannot sidestep,” he stated.
The finance minister said these circumstances are part of the reason government is developing strategies for a green economy.
“These strategies will in the long run, lessen our dependence on imported fossil fuels while diversifying our energy mix. While we explore the options for renewable energy, improved energy efficiency should not be overlooked,” he added.
Notwithstanding GUYOIL’s performance over the years, the company has come under the microscope recently for questionable fuel purchases, and other apparent irregularities. A report into the operations of the company has raised several corruption-related questions and implicated senior officials.
In February, Managing Director of the company, Badrie Persaud, was fired after being sent on leave.
Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, has since indicated that the company’s Board is studying the report after which a determination will be made on the course of action to be taken.