Senior Minister responsible for Finance Dr. Ashni Singh tabled the Natural Resources Fund 2021 Bill this morning to address different areas of management of the oil and other natural resources wealth of Guyana.
The original Natural Resources Bill was passed in 2019 with the then Opposition PPP absent from the National Assembly since it came up for debate and passage after the no-confidence vote against the APNU+AFC government.
In presenting the new Natural Resources Bill this morning, the Finance Minister, Dr. Ashni Singh said the establishment of the fund is to manage the wealth of Guyana for present and future benefit of the people for the sustainable development of the country and for connected matters.
The new Bill will replace the one that was previously passed and become the Act.
The new piece of legislation caters for the establishment of a Board of Directors, which will be responsible for reviewing and approving the policies of the Fund and monitoring the performance of the Fund.
The Bank of Guyana will be in charge of the operational management of the Fund.
Like the previously passed legislation, it also sets conditions for the withdrawal from the Fund. The Government will have to seek Parliamentary approval for withdrawals from the Fund, while there will be special systems in place for emergency withdrawals in times of emergency.
The legislation also covers investments from the Fund and how the investments will have to be done.
The passage of the Bill will pave the way for the full activation of the Natural Resources Fund.
Although the Fund has been receiving hundreds of millions of dollars, it has not been activated. The PPP Civic government did not appear prepared to activate the Fund under the existing legislation which was passed by the former APNU+AFC government.