Finance Minister files motion for parliamentary nomination of oil fund board member

Senior Minister in the Office of the President with responsibility for finance, Dr. Ashni Singh, has filed a motion asking the National Assembly to nominate one member for the Natural Resource Fund (NFR) Board of Directors.

The nomination is provided for in the Natural Resource Fund Act 2021, which became law in December. The Board of Directors is a new governance mechanism introduced for the Fund by the PPP/C Government. It adds a layer of separation between political leaders and the Fund, where previously there was none. The board will consist of directors, appointed by the President, His Excellency Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali.

The Act contains provisions which confine the selection of directors to having wide experience and ability in legal, financial, business, or administrative matters, and prohibits the appointment of a person who is a member of the National Assembly.

Parliament is expected to vote to refer the matter to the Committee of Appointments, in accordance with Parliamentary Standing Order 84(3)(b)(iii), for it to make a suitable recommendation to the Assembly on the candidate to be identified as the nominee.

The motion will be laid in parliament on Monday, January 24, 2022.

Per the appointment of other members, Chairman of the Private Sector Commission (PSC), Paul Cheong has told multiple private media houses that the process is already underway to select the candidate, which will represent the private sector, as is also provided for in the Act.

The advancement of the provisions of the Natural Resource Fund Act, including appointments of directors and committee members, are in preparation for an early withdrawal from the Fund, to finance pressing development initiatives.

The Act has a long list of mechanisms which promote transparency and practical governance. Parliamentary scrutiny is a cornerstone of the governance mechanism the government has set in place to ensure the operations of the Fund are above board.