Minister of Finance Dr. Ashni Singh has assured that no money will be withdrawn from the Natural Resource Fund (NRF) without Parliamentary approval.
A release from the Ministry said the Finance Minister made this clarification on the sidelines of Budget 2022 meetings and preparation. Budget 2022 is expected to be presented to the National Assembly soon.
On the 31st December, Dr. Singh signed the Commencement Order for the NRF which stated that with effect from the 1st January 2022, the Natural Resource Fund Act shall come into operation.
However, though the Act has been operationalized, the Minister made it clear that Parliamentary approval will first be sought before any withdrawal of monies from the Fund.
“Not a cent can be withdrawn without prior parliamentary approval, not a cent HAS been withdrawn, and not a cent WILL be withdrawn until approved by Parliament”, Dr. Singh said.
The new Natural Resource Fund Act which was highly criticized for being rushed through the House was assented to on December 30, a day after its passage in the National Assembly.
The law brings legitimacy to the legal framework governing the Natural Resource Fund having replaced an earlier Bill that was passed by the previous government.
That Bill passed by the Coalition was labeled to be illegal by the PPP administration, since it was passed after the passage of the no-confidence Vote in parliament.
The Finance Ministry said the new Law now allows for substantial improvement in the management of the natural resource wealth of Guyana for the present and future benefit of all citizens.
“It contains enhanced clauses including the establishment of a Board of Directors that 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 Ministry said.
The Board of Directors will be appointed by the President.