Natural Resources fund Bill to be tabled soon


By Bibi Khatoon

The Bill governing the Sovereign Wealth Fund now renamed the Natural Resources Fund should be tabled in the National Assembly in the first quarter of 2018.

The Bill is currently with the Ministry of Finance and according to Natural Resources Minister, Raphael Trotman, “it is almost at a state of readiness for submission to cabinet.” He was addressing media operatives at a press conference on Thursday, January 25, 2018.

The Minister refused to comment extensively on the Bill since it will be tabled by the Finance Minister.

However, he said it was “drafted by the Commonwealth Secretariat, scrutinized by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and I believe the Inter-American Development Bank and would have received their comments as to how it should best be structured.”

The Sovereign Wealth Fund as it was previously known, aims to save funds for future generations; one way includes converting non-renewable assets into a more diversified portfolio of assets and to mitigate the effects of “Dutch Disease.”

In the past, international partners have urged that the fund be “transparent, independent and non-partisan.”

Among plans for 2018, the Natural Resources Ministry is also preparing to hosted countrywide consultations beginnging in February to continue its preparation for oil production in 2020.

Trotman disclosed that several other legislation will also be tabled this year including environmental regulations, health and safety regulations and petroleum taxation fiscal legislation. He noted that a natural resources consultative committee will also be established.

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