Finance Minister defends decision to increase withdrawals from Natural Resource Fund

Finance Minister defends decision to increase withdrawals from Natural Resource Fund

The Government has amended the Natural Resource Fund Act to allow for increased withdrawals from the nation’s Natural Resource Fund.

According to Finance Minister, Dr. Ashni Singh, the aim is to accelerate the delivery of public goods and services to Guyanese, while optimizing the financing mix in keeping with sound fiscal management.

The Opposition staged a walk out of the National Assembly on Friday over the Government decision, explaining that in their view, the Government is emptying the Natural Resource Fund, for the benefit of a few.

But during his presentation on the Bill, the Finance Minister said all Guyanese stand to benefit from the latest move by the Government.

“We have committed to delivering improvement to the well-being of all Guyanese in a rapidly accelerated fashion and at a rapidly accelerated pace and as was ventilated during the course of this debate, whether it is the rapid build out of physical and economic infrastructure, such as our transport and energy infrastructure, our social infrastructure such as public health care facilities and our educational facilities, or the strengthening of the capability of our security sector agencies, including the police and the fire service with the deployment of additional assets and the deployment of high technology, or the improvement of our social services, or the build out of our housing and water infrastructure, or indeed any other sector, we this PPP/C are in a hurry to improve the lives of every single Guyanese family and every single Guyanese individual.” the Finance Minister said.

The Finance Minister stated that the Natural Resources Fund (NRF) rule, while allowing for greater financial resources to be available to support intensified public investment and accelerated delivery of social services will ensure that as production and revenue ramp up further, an increasing share of the inflows into the NRF will be saved relative to the shared transferred to the Consolidated Fund to finance these national development priorities.

The revised rule will take effect from this month and will replace the existing rule for withdrawals.

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