Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo has poured cold water on a notion that the country will start seeing real wealth from the proceeds from oil soon.
Responding to questions from the Baker Institute Center for Energy studies in the United States, Mr. Jagdeo said, although the country has been receiving oil revenues, he does not classify the country as a wealthy one noting that it will take years before Guyanese start seeing real wealth and benefits from oil resources.
“Oil revenue or the magnitude that will see major flows to Guyana is not coming for the next few years, we still have to – 3-4 hundred million dollars a year now is not a lot of money, and many people think oh the wealth will come tomorrow or oh it is here today, suddenly we should start splurging, we have live within our means for quite a while into the future,” Mr. Jagdeo said.
Mr. Jagdeo said while the government is focusing on the oil economy, it will also invest heavily in the non-oil economy so that the country will not only depend on proceeds from oil. In the meantime, though, he said the oil revenues will be used to raise the standard of living of Guyanese.
On the question of direct cash transfers to Guyanese, the Vice- President does not see it as feasible currently.
“So a lot of people believe we have a lot of money, before the elections, one gentleman said we must give every Guyanese family US$5000 per annum so when you multiply 200,000 households and that’s a billion dollars per annum, we only getting 300 or 400 million, so people actually believed it, so sometimes for a political reason sometimes we raise the expectations, that is why we have constantly been out there talking to people,” Mr. Jagdeo said.
In 2018 as Opposition Leader, Mr. Jagdeo said he would back conditional cash transfers to citizens. One year later in 2019, he said his party would support targeted cash transfers. By 2020, Mr. Jagdeo said the issue would have to be closely examined.
During the forum in Texas yesterday, the Vice President said he envisions that the oil revenue will be used to fund projects to develop the people as well as world-class health and education.
The Vice President is currently leading a Government and Private Sector delegation at a major oil and gas conference and exhibition in Houston, Texas.