I shall issue a proclamation declaring 20th December as ‘National Petroleum Day.’ The proclamation will remind us of our duty to protect the country’s patrimony and to ensure the sustainable management of finite hydrocarbon resources.

I have been advised that petroleum production is about to commence – three months ahead of the original schedule. Guyana has become a petroleum-producing state.

Petroleum production will be a transformative process in the country’s economic development. The petroleum sector will stimulate increased employment and expand services.

Your Government will unveil a ‘Decade of Development, 2020-2029’ aimed at ensuring that petroleum resources will be utilized to provide the ‘good life’ for all.

The ‘Decade’ is a ten-year plan to intensify development and improve citizens’ quality of life. Every Guyanese will benefit from petroleum production. No one will be left behind. Your Government has taken steps to safeguard the national interest:

The Department of Energy was established to manage the country’s hydrocarbon resources; it is seeking the best advice, including international best practices as it builds the institutional, legislative and regulatory capability to manage this sector effectively and efficiently; and

The Natural Resource Fund Act 2019 was passed by the National Assembly; the ‘Act’ provides for ensuring that the country’s resource wealth “…benefits both current and future generations…”; it incorporates oversight, accounting, reporting and auditing mechanisms to promote prudent, transparent and accountable management of oil revenues.

Guyanese, I assure that your Government will manage petroleum revenues prudently to ensure fiscal discipline, financial sector stability, sustainable levels of public debt and low inflation.

Withdrawals from the ‘Fund’ will follow a balanced approach, prioritising investment in public education, public health, public infrastructure, public security, social protection and other social services and will support private sector development.

Petroleum production has brought the prospects of a higher quality of life closer to our households and neighbourhoods. It is a momentous event which we should commemorate for perpetuity.

Guyana’s future is brighter with the beginning of ‘first oil’. The ‘good life’ for everyone beckons. Let us work together to build a happy and prosperous country for the present and future generations.

May God bless Guyana. Ω

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