Natural Resource Fund Bill tabled

THE Natural Resource Fund Bill was tabled in the National Assembly by Finance Minister Winston Jordan, and read for the first time on Monday.

The Bill was crafted with the intention of paving the way for the establishment of a Natural Resource Fund to manage natural resource wealth. “It seeks to mandate the parties involved with managing the fund to ensure that the resource wealth benefits both current and future generations of the people,” the Explanatory Memorandum of the Bill states.
Part III of the Bill will set the foundation for the establishment of a Public Accountability and Oversight Committee, which would be responsible for monitoring and evaluating the compliance of the government and other relevant persons. Additionally, the committee, if brought into effect, would monitor and evaluate the management of the fund and aligning it with the principles of transparency, good governance and international best practices, including the Santiago Principles.

Under this section as well, the committee would be empowered to provide an independent assessment of the management of the fund and utilisation of withdrawals, in addition to facilitating public consultations on the fund’s management.

Meanwhile, Part IV of the Bill seeks to place the fund in the care and operation of the Bank of Guyana (BoG) and to place the general responsibility to manage it with the finance minister. Additionally, it seeks to establish an Investment Committee that will advise the finance minister on investment options. That committee, once the Bill receives the approval of the House, and it is brought into effect, will include a Senior Investment Adviser and Analyst to assist the minister and the committee with planning the overall investment of the fund. The finance minister will be empowered to appoint an Investment Advisory Services Company to assist him with drawing up investment plans.

“It also seeks to give the bank the power to appoint asset management companies as private managers, to manage the fund according to instructions agreed upon. It further seeks to establish a Macroeconomic Committee to recommend, for the minister, what amount can be safely withdrawn from the fund early,” the Explanatory Memorandum states.

Importantly, the Bill aims to require the government to seek Parliamentary approval for withdrawals from the fund, as well as, the provision of additional documentation in annual budget proposals to the facilitate proper management in the form of Supplementary Appropriation Bills, seeking financing from the fund in times of major natural disasters.


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