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News > Guyana

Debate Over Exxon Tax Payments Continues in Guyana

  • Oil extraction ship in the Stabroek area.

    Oil extraction ship in the Stabroek area. | Photo: X/ @demwaves

Published 3 January 2024 (1 hours 54 minutes ago)
Opinion

The controversy concerns whether a production sharing agreement would oblige Guyanese authorities to use oil revenues to finance the companies' tax payments.

On Wednesday, the Guyanese e-paper Kaieteur News published an article showing a debate between Chartered accountant Christopher Ram and Attorney General Anil Nandlall regarding the use of funds from Guyana's Natural Resource Fund (NRF) to cover tax liabilities for ExxonMobil and its partners in the Stabroek Block.

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Their disagreement stems from the Production Sharing Agreement (PSA), which mandates Guyanese authorities to use NRF oil revenues to finance the companies' tax payments.

Through a press article, Ram claimed that the NRF holds US$276 billion that should have been transferred to the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) for the ExxonMobil-led consortium. He urged authorities to address this discrepancy.

Attorney General Nandlall responded to Ram's claims by pointing out that the NRF law does not allow transfers to GRA but only to the consolidated fund. Any unauthorized withdrawal constitutes an offense.

Additionally, Nandlall argued that the NRF Act's supremacy provision prevails in case of inconsistency with other laws.

In his counter reply, Ram expressed his disagreement with the Attorney General and cited a past case in which Nandlall himself said that laws are not always supreme to contracts.

Ram challenged Nandlall to provide evidence of tax payments made by the oil companies, requesting GRA-issued tax certificates and the source of funds used. He also inquired about any other documents confirming tax payments on behalf of the oil companies.

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