As Guyana prepares for first oil next year and with more investors heading to the local shores, the US Ambassador to Guyana is of the view that organisations like the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association need to push to ensure transparency when it comes to the Natural Resources Fund.
Guyana has put legislation in place that covers the establishment of a Natural Resources Fund.
The Natural Resources Fund, according to the legislation, will manage the natural resources wealth of Guyana for the present and future benefit of the people and for the sustainable development of the country.
At a luncheon hosted by the Guyana Manufacturers and Services Association today, the US Ambassador, Sarah Ann Lynch said “the GMSA should push to ensure transparency at all phases of implementation. For Instance, one of the provisions of the legislation provides that the Minister may, through a competitive and open procurement process, hire an investment advisory services company to provide advice on fund investments. The GMSA and other private sector agencies can exercise due diligence to ensure this advisory company is competent and reputable, and advises the Government as it develops its shortlist of potential firms”.
She said the private sector agencies could advocate for regular public disclosure of the investment objectives of the Natural Resources Fund, its finding, withdrawals and spending.
“In all these efforts of transparency, remember you have the strong support if the international community”, the Ambassador assured.
The US Ambassador also encouraged the members of the business community to talk to more than just their friends about issues like the Natural Resources Fund. She said there must be a constant message sent to the government regardless of who may be in power.
Ambassador Lynch also said the fund should be non-partisan and should be seen as something good for all Guyanese, since the benefits will go beyond the natural resources sector and the impact will be felt across the country.
With first oil expected in early 2020, the US Ambassador noted that this remains an exciting time fo Guyana and its future.