GUYANA: Govt. examining new rules for spending oil money – Finance Minister

Dr. Ashni Singh

– all transfers, spending to be reflected in Budget — Dr. Ashni Singh

Mar 25, 2021 – Kaieteur News – Despite having an enacted Natural Resource Fund (NRF), with in excess of US$267M deposited in the New York Federal Reserve Bank, the Guyana Government does not intend to utilize any expenditure under the current protocols, but is instead currently examining new rules under which the fund would operate.

This is according to Senior Minister within the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh. He, during a live Globespan 24X7 broadcast on Monday last, disclosed that the administration is currently examining the matter and is studying it closely and considering the options.       

He used the occasion to impress that “we are going to be looking at ways in which we can strengthen the Act, both in terms of management and governance of fund.”

According to Dr. Singh, the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) administration is looking to promulgate a strong and robust arrangement that would guide the transfers of the money from the NRF to the Treasury.

Dr. Singh lamented that the existing NRF legislation was enacted by the coalition, A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC), after it had been defeated by a No Confidence Vote in the National Assembly.

This, he reiterated, was also done in the absence of an Opposition and a mandate by the constituents of the country.

He told the Globespan24X7 Moderators—Charles Sugrim and Dr. Asquith Rose— that the administration will approach the House for enactment of its proposed legislation when it has been deemed optimal.

The Minister with responsibility for the sector was adamant that his administration would, in pursuit of transparency, publish details surrounding the transactions involving the oil revenues.

Adamant that none of the resources earned thus far have been spent, the Minister with responsibility for Finance said, “we have been accumulating resources in the fund and have been extremely transparent.”

According to Dr. Singh too, the monies will not be transferred to the Consolidated Fund until there is a reform of the legislation.
He did seek to assure that any transfer of funds from the NRF will be processed through and reflected in the National Budget annually and that the resources will be used in pursuit of a national agenda.

The Ministry of Natural Resources in its most recent update on oil revenues collected had said it “recommits to transparency and accountability within the Petroleum Sector…”

Inclusive of Royalties, and sales from five, one million barrels entitlements, the total in the Natural Resources Fund Account now stands at US$267,668,709.12.”

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Comments

  • brandli62  On 03/25/2021 at 7:01 am

    The central question that Dr. Singh is not addressing concerns the use of the funds in the NRF? Will Guyana follow the highly successful Norwegian model and just use only the interest generated by investing the assets in the fund on the capital market without depleting the fund? Or is the administration planning to drain the NRF and spend the resources on their pet projects?

    If the latter is the strategy, the Guyanese people have to be prepared to be left with no assets once the oil is gone. Personally, I would follow the Norwegian model, which is sustainable and will preserve wealth to the Guyanese people for generations to come.

    P.S: If you want to get a flavour of what can happen without a sustainable investment strategy for natural resources revenues, have a look at Nauru and its phosphate mining industry:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nauru

  • William  On 03/25/2021 at 9:32 am

    So much money in the hands of these guys is frightening.

  • wally n  On 03/25/2021 at 11:23 am

    Worlds biggest billboard, government using the word…transparency, means you already screwed. I am sure they already have a “plan” they never use outside advice unless it fits their agenda, sadly, I am sure they will never check this website for help.
    This is a Guyanese problem, time to be active and vocal, hurry up before everyone in government ends up owning a bridge across a river.
    Billboard reminds me, a while back some smart ass in the Conservative Government (Canada) suggested the native community should have a large billboard MONEY GIVEN….MONEY SPENT ON …because they were always asking for more..more..more

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