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No frivolous spending of oil money – says President Ali

President Irfaan Ali [Photo: Office of the President/July 26]

President Irfaan Ali has made it clear that Guyana will not engage in what he has termed “fanciful” spending of the oil wealth.

The Head of State noted that while the money must be used to enhance the country, it must be done in a sustainable manner.

“We have had many approaches; oh, we can build you a whole new office complex for the Presidency, you can have a beautiful new Government complex. Don’t worry about the money; we will build it all, and then you will rent it from us.

“Really? We don’t want that; we are very comfortable in the office that is supporting and house the office of the President,” the Head of State said while making reference to how they could have chosen to spend money “fanciful.”

He said although Guyana is on the horizon of becoming a developed country, it will remain humble.

“The country has to transform; the infrastructure has to modernise but not in a way that is fanciful. When you have a lot of resources, you get excited; you want to build ten highways when the country only needs three,” he posited during an interview with Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

The President emphasised that it is all about striking a balance and defining financing priorities as a matter of preference.

“I go to forum, and they say, oh, you’re from Guyana, the new rich kid on the block. I say no, I’m from Guyana, the humble country that is poor and looking for concessional financing.”

He said Guyana is not going to change its position in any way because it can potentially rack up debt in an unsustainable way while depending on revenues that have not yet been seen.

In the meantime, President Ali posited that Guyana has placed a number of mechanisms in place to manage the oil resources, such as the introduction of the Natural Resources Fund and legislation to oversight the use of the money.

This he believes will help to keep Guyana from succumbing to the natural resource curse.

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