Prudent management, right human resource key in avoiding resource curse – Pres Ali

Prudent management of Guyana’s natural and human resources is being touted as the key to the country avoiding the resource curse.

His Excellency, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali

This was the view expressed by President, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, during a discussion on ‘Strengthening the Guyana -U.S. Relationship’ at the Centre of Strategic and International Studies in the United States.

Fundamental to good management the president said is having the right people in place to manage the natural resources.

“You have to ensure you have the right human resource, the right people, the right attitude, the right culture. Unless you fix that and get that right formulation, then nothing else would work,” President Ali stated.

One of the things Dr. Ali said government has been doing despite having the new-found wealth, is seeking concessional financing. He pointed out that many countries have fallen prey to racking up unsustainable debt based on revenue projects that they have not yet acquired.

“So, it is building institutional capacity. It is building systems. It is building a structure of management and governance that ensure you avoid those pitfalls,” he said.

One of the safeguard mechanisms government has in place to manage funds from its natural resource is the Natural Resource Fund (NRF) Act.

The president said the management of the NRF is independent of government. In addition, there is a 10-year imprisonment penalty for non-disclosure of information on revenues earned which holds the Minister of Finance accountable.

“We have an independent investment committee that incorporates the central bank on investment of the fund. Then we have the legislative oversight because the only way the funds can be used to finance anything in the country is if it passes through the budgetary process. It has to pass through the parliamentary process, subject to debate, subject to parliamentary approval and subject of public scrutiny,” President Ali explained.

Government, he said, also has a simple formula that ensures that the ordinary man understands how money from the country’s natural resources is allocated.

President Ali is currently in the United States where discussions are being held on a range of issues, deepening bilateral relations. The president is leading the delegation from Guyana which includes Vice President, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo; Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Hugh Todd and Foreign Secretary, Robert Persaud.

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