IMF commends govt’s transparency, strengthening of anti-corruption framework
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has applauded the PPP/C Government on its progress in strengthening Guyana’s anti-corruption framework and fiscal transparency.
At the just concluded 2022 Article IV consultation with the Government of Guyana, the IMF highlighted several pillars that have been fortified by the government to ensure transparency and a stand against corruption.
These pillars include the Integrity Commission, the Public Procurement Commission (PPC), the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB), the Auditor General Reports, and the implementation of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiatives (EITI).
Each pillar plays an important role in government’s transformative agenda, which makes provision for increased government expenditure in areas such as housing, healthcare, education, agriculture, and other critical sectors.
Role of the Integrity Commission
The Integrity Commission, requires all persons holding public office or public life to declare their assets, or make financial declaration to the commission.
The information received by the commission from public office holders, which include members of parliament, can be scrutinised by members of the public.
This is part of the government’s anti-corruption framework and is one of the key pillars for fiscal transparency of public officials in government.
It was a previous PPP/C administration in 1997, which brought the Integrity Commission into existence through an Act of parliament.
The 1997 Act, forms a key element of the administration’s policy on transparency, which is to improve public confidence in the integrity of persons in public life.
Role of the Public Procurement Commission
Earlier this year, as part of government’s transformative agenda, members of the Public Procurement Commission (PPC) were sworn in by His Excellency, President Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali.
President Ali, at that time, said the job of the PPC was to add the necessary institutional mechanisms that will ensure the oversight of public financing.
“The task of building Guyana requires institutions that can withstand the diverse view of the public… The principles expected of the commissioners of the commission, as they execute their mandate, must deliver better and better for the people of our country,” Dr Ali had stated.
The Public Procurement Commission is an independent impartial body, established under article 212W (1) of the Constitution.
The PPC monitors the public procurement process, which ensures that the procurement of goods and services and the execution of works are conducted in a fair, equitable, transparent, competitive, and in a cost-effective manner according to law.
National Procurement and Tender Administration Board
The mission of NPTAB is to facilitate the establishment and implementation of a regulatory environment conducive to transparency, economy, efficiency, openness, fairness, and accountability in public sector procurement.
The genesis of the government’s anti-corruption framework and fiscal transparency agenda, which established the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board was done in accordance with the Procurement Act 2003.
That act came into effect in 2004 and was another hallmark piece of legislation under a previous PPP/C Administration to ensure transparency under the government’s anti-corruption framework.
Auditor General Reports
The Auditor General reports is presented annually by the Auditor General’s office, which is the supreme Audit Institution of the State.
This report forms another layer in the progress of strengthening Guyana’s anti-corruption framework and fiscal transparency, as noted by the International Monetary fund 2022 Article IV consultation with the Government of Guyana.
These reports provide timely reporting to legislature and the public, which are independent, objective, and completed with integrity on government expenditure.
This promotes good governance, openness, transparency and improved public accountability.
Extractive Industries Transparency Initiatives (EITI).
It is pragmatic to note that the PPP/C Administration is the only government to have committed to working on a beneficial ownership register as an EITI requirement.
The government, according to the IMF report, has already commenced the procurement process for consultants to achieve this objective in line with EITI requirements and civil society calls.
These calls fell on deaf ears during the previous APNU/AFC administration.
Nonetheless, the IMF also noted that government made progress in implementing the recommendations of the 2019 and 2021 EITI (Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative) reports, notably on the reconciliation with the fiscal regime.
The IMF concluded that it is ready to assist government in its capacity development needs which includes technical assistance on macroeconomic and fiscal management, development of financial market infrastructure, and strengthening of statistical capabilities.
The IMF went on further to laud the authorities for the recent amendments to the Natural Resources Fund Act.
“The recent amendments to the 2019 Natural Resource Fund (NRF) Act set clear ceilings on withdrawals from the fund for budgetary spending and promote transparency in the management and use of oil resources. Staff praised the authorities’ thorough review of the 2019 NRF Act before making amendments, and the restraint in using any oil revenues before the passage of the amendments,” the report said. The IMF also highlighted that Guyana has been removed from the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) and the European Commission’s Money-Laundering Blacklists. The IMF recommended that the AML/CFT framework be further strengthened with mutual evaluation to be done once more by the end of 2023.