Petroleum Commission Bill dissolves a lot of Minister’s powers into a regulator commission
The Minister of Natural Resources Raphael Trotman moved the second reading of the Petroleum Commission Bill in the National Assembly.
Minister Trotman moved for the Bill to go to Special Select Committee adding the Bill will be served better if it has “the benefit of a bipartisan look” before it is passed into law.
The Bill was recommended for consideration by the Minister who noted “the entrance into the House is timely, necessary and is a progressive step” for Guyana.
The Bill was first laid in the National Assembly in May and give title to an Act to provide for the establishment and functions of the Petroleum Commission of Guyana and for related matters.
The six- part Bill has 51 sections which cover areas pertaining to the establishment and incorporation of the Petroleum Commission, functions and duties of the Commission, and financing among others.
The Petroleum Commission Bill makes provision for the establishment of a Petroleum Commission to serve as a regulatory agency for Guyana’s oil and gas industry. It will also provide for the monitoring and regulation of the sector.
Minister Trotman noted that while the 1997 Amendment Petroleum Exploration and Production Act gave significant powers to the Minister, the Bill will see the dissolvement of powers to a commission or regulatory agency. “So, the Minister will no longer have all the power we are taking a step towards enlightenment,” Minister Trotman said.
The Commission will be semi-autonomous, the Minister said pointing out that the Bill’s construct is similar to agencies such as the Guyana
Forestry Commission (GFC) and the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC). Like the GFC and GGMC, the Petroleum Commission will also have a reserve fund.
“We’ve written into this bill that the Parliamentary Opposition shall be on the board,” Minister Trotman said to serve as an oversight to any abuse of power. We should not delude ourselves into thinking we should dissolve all power from the Ministry Minister Trotman cautioned.
Meanwhile Opposition Member of Parliament Irfaan Ali cautioned the government side of the house to have a legislation in the best interest of Guyanese even as he welcomed “with sincerity that you will approach this matter in a bipartisan manner”.
The Bill was composed with input from the Commonwealth Secretariat’s Oceans and Natural Resources Advisory Division. The Bill meets international best practices and standards Minister Trotman assured.
Since May of 2015 the government of Guyana, in tandem with other ministers, has been working assiduously in preparation for first oil in 2020 necessitating the need for this bill Minister Trotman noted.
Presentations on the Bill are ongoing. (GINA)