Senior Finance Minister Dr Ashni Singh today submitted Notification of Receipts to Parliament of all petroleum revenues paid into the Natural Resource Fund (NRF) during the period 1st October 2022 to 31st December 2022, pursuant to Section 33 (2) of the NRF Act 2021.
This notification was published in the Official Gazette on the 5th January 2023 and demonstrates the People Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government’s continued commitment to the principles of transparency and accountability in the management of Guyana’s oil resources. At the end of 2022, the balance in the NRF stood at US$1.27 billion (or GY$266 billion).
It would be recalled that the NRF Act 2021, came into operation on January 1, 2022, replacing the illegitimate NRF Act 2019 passed by the APNU/AFC caretaker administration.
The NRF Act 2021 allows for substantial improvement in the management of the natural resource wealth of Guyana including the establishment of a Board of Directors which is responsible for reviewing and approving the policies of the Fund and monitoring its performance, thereby separating the management of the Fund from the Minister responsible for Finance.
Another key amendment in the new legislation is that the Minister of Finance could face up to ten years imprisonment if he fails to disclose the receipt of any petroleum revenue received by Government in the Official Gazette within three months of receipt of such monies.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF), in its 2022 Article IV mission to Guyana in May-June of 2022, commended the PPP/C Government on the amendments made to the NRF Act and highlighted:
“The NRF Act was strengthened recently. After a thorough review, and while restraining the spending of the oil receipts, the authorities amended the NRF Act December 2021. The recent amendments set clear ceilings on withdrawals from the Fund for budgetary spending,’
The PPP/C Government intends to continue to manage Guyana’s oil resources in a clear and transparent manner, to the benefit of present and future generations. (Ministry of Finance press release)