After about six months, negotiations between the National Association of Agricultural, Commercial and Industrial Employees (NAACIE) and management of the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) concluded on Friday with the parties signing off on salary increases for the power company’s staff who come under the purview of the union.The salary increase will be retroactive to January 1, 2017. General Secretary of NAACIE, Dawchan Nagasar told the Department of Public Information (DPI) thatChief Labour Officer, Charles Ogle hands over agreement to General Secretary of NAACIE, Dawchan Nagasarapart from increases on the actual salaries, there are a number of other incentives that will boost staffers’ finances paid.“The company and the union has agreed to a 3 percent in scale increments and a 3.5 percent across the board which total 6.5… (There are also increases in) meal allowances, commuters’ allowance for meter readers, night shift premiums and other incentives for persons climbing poles, towers … Also increases and over-time for those working the sick shift and also an agreement for annual performance incentive”, the General Secretary is quoted by the Department of Public Information as saying.It was disclosed that another cycle of negotiations will commence soon. Chief Labour Officer of the Social Protection Ministry, Charles Ogle said, “Don’t let us sign one-year agreements because as you are signing here now, it’s time to start the negotiations. We should look at two years or probably three years. Most people have been going that way, even five years is considered.”He added that salary negotiations for the GPL staff should begin “the latest, in the second quarter.” Further, it has been noted that throughout the negotiations there has been much back and forth amidst disagreements however both sides were satisfied with the outcome.Chief Executive Officer (ag) of GPL, Renford Homer added that the level of professionalism that was maintained throughout the negotiations has resulted in both parties coming to an agreement, with hopes of improvement in the coming year.“With the recognition that we needed to be quite prudent in our deliberation as to what we considered to be a reasonable increase in salaries, and I think that level of maturity and understanding came out of these engagements,” Homer said.
2019 standards– State spending on social services, subsidies must be tracked, disclosedWhen it comes to spending the millions of US dollars that the oil and gas sector brings, the Extractive Industry Transparency Index (EITI) has retained a number of measures for member countries to increase transparency and accountability.The EITI 2019 standardThese measures are contained in the EITI’s 2019 standards, which were recently released by the global watchdog, and member states are expected to fully comply. According to the standards, the Government should ensure full disclosure of State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) payouts.According to the EITI standards, SOE payouts or quasi-fiscal expenditures include instances where Government spends oil and gas revenues on social services, public infrastructure, fuel subsidies, and national debt servicing. EITI designates these expenses as anything outside of the national budgetary process.“Where State participation in the extractive industries gives rise to material revenue payments, implementing countries must include disclosures from SOEs on their quasi-fiscal expenditures,” the standards stated.“The multi-stakeholder group is required to develop a reporting process with a view to achieving a level of transparency commensurate with other payments and revenue streams, and should include SOE subsidiaries and joint ventures.”Meanwhile, the standards also stipulated the disclosure of details regarding beneficial owners of oil blocks. This includes the percentage of ownership. It also stipulates the filing of ownership information with regulators.This comes even as revelations have emerged that State Assets Recovery Agency (SARA) executive member Eric Phillips having financial interests in an oil company vying for oil blocks in local waters.Cash payoutsSince ExxonMobil discovered oil and estimates have put the amount of money Guyana will earn in the range of billions of US dollars, there have been questions over how this money will be spent.One proposal has been that the Government spend a percentage of the oil revenue on direct cash transfers to the people, whether conditional or not. One proponent of this has been economist Dr Clive Thomas, who has called for some of the oil wealth to go to households in Guyana.Dr Thomas has noted that citizens were better in tune with their needs and what they were lacking in their personal lives. He has noted that his experience as an economist as well as research have shown that citizens given cash payouts were more likely to use them to improve their lives than squander the money.“People heard of stories of boxers who made a lot of money in fights, but then end up being poor. They know stories of people who won the lotteries and ended up being poor and they try to generalise from that, that this is the experience of every oil and gas economy. If we look at the facts, while that can and does happen, in most cases people who win lotteries end up by being in the situation where their status has improved their lives and chances.“It is not as if there are no risks … I am not claiming that calling for cash transfers means people might not spend it on consumption or wastage, but I am saying they would better conserve it than any other outside agencies – whether you call it local or central government,” Dr Thomas had said last year during a public forum in Buxton.Working People’s Alliance (WPA) executive Dr David Hinds has said that his party would be pushing for cash transfers. But, Government has been lukewarm to this idea. President David Granger, when asked about this proposal last year, had said there was “no evidential basis” for cash payouts.MoneyGovernment has, however, signed the Natural Resources Fund Bill into law. The Bill sets out, among other things, a 22-member Public Accountability and Oversight Committee that will oversee the Fund. The Committee is supposed to include representatives from the media, Private Sector and the Bar Association.Following its 10th discovery of oil in the Stabroek Block, ExxonMobil had estimated the recoverable resource in the Block to be five billion oil-equivalent barrels. With oil at US$50 a barrel, that equates to well over US$200 billion.Exxon has since revised this figure upwards after three more discoveries, the last one being at the Yellowtail-1 well in April. More drilling is also scheduled for this year and it was only days ago that its first Floating Production, Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel for Guyana, the Liza Destiny, was commissioned.In addition, an independent assessment, or competent persons’ report, had found that 2.9 billion barrels of oil existed in the Orinduik Block. All of this will represent a monetary windfall for Guyana, which will be saved and invested through the Natural Resources Fund. Previously, a green paper on the Fund was laid in the National Assembly.Then, there is the issue of the Fund Managers. Investment firm Merrill Lynch has previously expressed an interest in being involved in managing Guyana’s oil finances. In fact, representatives from the firm had reportedly met with Central Bank Governor, Dr Gobind Ganga.The Opposition has urged that the vetting process for the Fund Manager be a rigorous one. Touching on this subject, too, on Tuesday, US Ambassador Sarah-Ann Lynch recommended that should Guyana go this route, credible and efficient Fund Managers be chosen.
Club President Michael Elphinstone says the primary goal of the Mega Lottery is to help these local organizations garnish some finances through a streamlined fundraiser.“Those dollars are a way of having a consolidated lottery where all the funds can get distributed and managed without each individual club having to go through the gaming procedures,” says ElphinstoneHe says “it was a pretty solid year” for ticket sales.- Advertisement -“We’re happy to have raised an excess of $100,000 for the various community organizations, and we’re really looking forward to next year, and continuing to raise those dollars.”Member of the Rotary Club and volunteer of the Mega Lottery Committee Moira Green says there’s a cost to the lottery in terms of administration and prizes.Once those cost are covered, the rest of the funds collected by the lottery are distributed to the participating clubs on a weighted average bases – based on their ticket sales.Advertisement For example, if there’s $10 dollars worth of tickets sold after cost are recuperated, and one local club sold 50 per cent of those tickets, they’d receive $5 dollars in profit.The Mega Lottery was hosted this year by both the Fort St. John and Dawson Creek Rotary Clubs.Some participating clubs this year include but are not limited to the Fort St. John and Taylor Minor Hockey Leagues, the Fort St. John Soccer Club, the Fort St. John Dance Society, the Dawson Creek 5-Pin Association and the Bear Mountain Nordic Ski Club.