In an effort to ensure the nation does not suffer significant value leakage, the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) has trained a total of 118 officials in the areas of Oil and Gas audit techniques, Crude Lifting Agreements, Oil and Gas accounting, Customs Documentation and Associated Processes; and Crude Lifting Measurements.
Making this disclosure during a recent appearance on the Kaieteur Radio Programme, ‘Guyana’s Oil and You’, was GRA’s Commissioner General, Godfrey Statia.
The tax boss said that the officials will be staffed in the authority’s Oil and Gas Department which will deal with both the customs and revenue aspects related to the industry. He said that the Department will have two units being headed by senior Executives of the Authority at the level of Deputy Commissioners. The units are named: the Petroleum Revenue Audit Unit (PRAU) and the Customs Petroleum Unit (CPU).
The Commissioner General explained that these Units are being staffed and given the resources to effectively monitor, audit, and ensure compliance by oil companies is optimal at all times. These units are staffed in keeping with a Consultant’s report from the United States Overseas Technical Assistance, the UK government, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Statia disclosed that there is presently an in-house Consultant paid by the IMF and another development partner to provide constant training in audit techniques to staff members of the Revenue Audit Unit.
As regards the Petroleum Unit, Statia said that the IMF had provided recommendations in a Mission Close-Out Report which is currently being implemented in two phases: an incubator transitional facet and the creation of a permanent Customs Petroleum Unit.
The Commissioner General said, “As we speak, efforts aimed at fine tuning preparation for an adequate responsive Unit is underway with the IMF guiding the process. Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) are being developed and fine-tuned in relation to Crude Lifting, which will cover from Notification of Lifting Schedules to reporting formats onshore and offshore, and further alignments for fiscal and revenue collection purposes.”
Additionally, Statia said that IHS Markit, the UK firm which has been awarded the contract to conduct the cost audits being incurred by ExxonMobil and its partners on the Stabroek Block, will see GRA officials working alongside them with the objective of assisting the Revenue Authority to develop its capabilities.
Statia said, “We are also developing appropriate regimes of Customs Areas and Sufferance Wharves in order to monitor and facilitate imports, exports, transits and transshipment of goods from the designated Shorebase facilities.”