Senior Finance Minister oversees signing of operational agreement between Natural Resource Fund (NRF) Board and the Bank of Guyana

In further demonstration of the strengthened governance architecture of the Fund 

Senior Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh today oversaw the signing of the Operational Agreement for the Management of the Natural Resource Fund (NRF) between the Board of Directors of the Natural Resource Fund and the Bank of Guyana in the Boardroom at the Ministry of Finance. The Agreement was signed by Chairman of the Board of Directors, Major General (retd) Joseph Singh, MSS and Governor of the Bank of Guyana, Dr. Gobind Ganga and is in keeping with Section 5 (6) (d) of the Natural Resource Fund Act of 2021 which states the Board is required to enter into an Operational Agreement with the Bank for the operational management of the Guyana’s Natural Resource Fund.

One of the key amendments in the NRF Act 2021 was strengthening the governance architecture of the Fund through the establishment of a Board of Directors tasked with the overall management of the Fund, 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. In addition, a 9-member Public Accountability and Oversight Committee (PAOC), responsible for providing non-governmental oversight of the operations of the Fund, replaced the cumbersome 22-member committee previously proposed. The Board of Directors and PAOC members were appointed in August 2022.

In alignment with the requirement of the Natural Resource Fund Act, since April 2022, notifications of receipts of petroleum revenues are being published in the Official Gazette and have been tabled in Parliament.

Prior to the signing of the Operational Agreement, Minister Singh provided policy guidance to the Board of Directors of the Natural Resource Fund with Budget 2023 having been presented on Monday January 16, 2023.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) Article IV Mission Report that was released in September 2022 commended the PPP/C Government on the amendments made to the NRF Act and highlighted:

The NRF Act was strengthened recently. After a thorough review, and while restraining the spending of the oil receipts, the authorities amended the NRF Act in December 2021. The recent amendments set clear ceilings on withdrawals from the Fund for budgetary spending …’

Also witnessing the signing of the Operational Agreement today were Board of Directors Ambassador Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett, Professor Compton Bourne, O.E and Mr. Dunstan Barrow, CCH along with Chief Accountant of the Bank of Guyana Mr. Maurice Munro.