The Ministry of Natural Resources, on Tuesday, signed a contract with a consortium of Guyanese auditors to the tune of some US$751,000 to conduct a cost recovery audit of ExxonMobil’s post-2017 (2018-2020) expenses.
The contracts were awarded to Ramdihal & Haynes Inc., Eclisar Financial, and Vitality Accounting & Consultancy Inc. The local consortium is supported by international firms – SGS and Martindale Consultants.
Minister of Natural Resources, Vickram Bharrat, witnessed the signing between Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Joslyn McKenzie and representatives of the auditing agencies at a sensitisation workshop targeting contractors and sub-contractors on licensing requirements under the Local Content Act, at the Duke Lodge, Duke Street, Kingston.
The cost recovery audit is expected to be completed by September. Minister Bharrat said that as part of the contract, the local companies will benefit from capacity building which could see them conducting such audits independently.
“So, we actually put that as part of the contractual arrangement between the consortium and our local companies. So, it caters for knowledge transfer training of our local guys,” the minister further said.
He added: “The technical company is needed because our local auditors might be familiar with the auditing of basic expenses – fuel, meals, transportation but when we are talking about jumpers and risers and Christmas trees and FPSO and these technical terms, they will need technical knowledge and expertise onboard.”
The Natural Resources Minister said once the audit is completed, it will be made public and submitted to the Auditor General’s Office.
Bharrat added: “We will look at the findings and recommendations from it (the audits), and I’m sure government will take the appropriate steps to address those recommendations.”
He rubbished claims in some sections of the media that Guyana will not be able to make any claims if discrepancies are unearthed during the audit of ExxonMobil’s subsidiary, Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited (EEPGL).
“…that is not true, we have been in constant engagement with the operator, and they are willing to support and be part of the audit,” Minister Bharrat said.
In addition to setting the stage for local audit firms to benefit from involvement in cost recovery audits, the government will also build the capacity of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) to conduct its own cost audits for the oil sector. (DPI)