Natural Resource Fund annual report presented to Parliament

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See the full statement issued below:

Senior Minister in the Office of the President with Responsibility for Finance and the Public Service, Dr Ashni Singh, in keeping with the PPP/C Government’s continued transparent and accountable management of the oil and gas sector, today presented the Natural Resource Fund (NRF) Annual Report for the fiscal year 2023 to the National Assembly, pursuant to Section 32(4) of the Natural Resource Fund Act 2021.

Minister Singh acknowledged the work done by the NRF Board, the Public Accountability and Oversight Committee and the Investment Committee, and “commended, on behalf of the Government and the people of Guyana, the sterling work that is being done by the board of directors and the two respective committees for this extremely important national institution – The Natural Resource Fund.”

The NRF Act 2021 came into operation on January 1, 2022 and represents one of the most significant steps taken to bring greater accountability and transparency in the management of Guyana’s oil resources. The NRF Act 2021 contains several enhanced clauses, including the establishment of a Board of Directors which will be 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. The NRF Act 2021 requires the Government to seek Parliamentary approval for withdrawals from the Fund, and also sets out new, simplified calculations needed for ensuring that the Fund achieves its purposes. These positive actions of the PPP/C government in management of the NRF are also recognised and commended by the IMF in its Article IV December 2023 report, which states:

“The governance of the NRF was strengthened through the appointment of three critical entities in 2022: the NRF Board of Directors, the Public Accountability and Oversight Committee, and the Investment Committee. Furthermore, to ensure full transparency and accountability, notifications of receipts of petroleum revenues have been published in the Official Gazette.”

The Board of Directors of the NRF was appointed by His Excellency President Irfaan Ali on August 30 2022, and the members are as follows:

  1. Major General (Retired) Joseph Singh, MSS, Chairperson
  2. Dunstan Barrow, A.A., Director (Nominated by the National Assembly)
  3. Ramesh Dookhoo, Director (Representative of the Private Sector)
  4. Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett, Director
  5. Professor Compton Bourne, O.E., Director

At today’s sitting of the National Assembly, the Speaker of the National Assembly also circulated the Public Accountability and Oversight Committee Annual Report for the fiscal year 2023, pursuant to Section 6(6) of the Natural Resource Fund Act 2021. Pursuant to Section 6 of the Natural Resource Fund Act 2021, the Public Accountability and Oversight Committee of the Fund was appointed August 30, 2022 and the members are as follows:

  1. Clement Sealey, Chairperson (Nominee of the National Assembly)
  2. Pastor Wendell Jeffrey, Member (Representative of the Religious Community)
  3. Savitri Balbahadur, Member (Representative of the Religious Community)
  4. Abu Zaman, Member (Representative of the Religious Community)
  5. Desmond Sears, Member (Representative of the Private Sector)
  6. Ryan Alexander, Member (Representative of the Private Sector)
  7. Aslim Singh, Member (Representative of Organised Labour)
  8. Dawn Gardener, Member (Representative of Organised Labour)
  9. Teni Housty, Member (Representative of the Professions)

The 9-member Public Accountability and Oversight Committee is responsible of providing non-governmental oversight of the operations of the Fund, replacing the cumbersome 22-member committee previously proposed in the NRF Act 2019.

The Senior Finance Minister also presented today, Notification of Receipts to the National Assembly of all petroleum revenues paid into the Natural Resource Fund (NRF) during the period 29th March 2024 to 30th June 2024, pursuant to Section 33 (2) of the NRF Act 2021. The NRF at the end June 2024 amounted to US$2.9 billion.

It would be recalled that a key improvement to the NRF Act 2021 is that the Minister 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 PPP/C Government will maintain its transparent and accountable management of the oil and gas sector and will ensure that NRF funds are used to finance investments that benefit present and future generations.

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