The Private Sector Commission (PSC) is looking to the diaspora to find its nominee for the Public Accountability and Oversight Committee, tasked with overlooking the operationalisation of the Natural Resource Fund.
Passed in January, the Natural Resource Fund Act lists two committees that are to ensure it is managed properly: the Public Accountability and Oversight Committee and the Investment Committee.
During a presentation of the mid-year report last month, Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan, in response to questions about the country’s progression to First Oil, told members of the media that Government had sent out letters to all entities that will play a part in the fund, and that it had received from most of them, either notice of their nominee, or notice that they’re working toward naming someone.
Otherwise, he had said that Government still needs to receive nominees for two entities; the PSC and the Opposition, respectively.
The Opposition has rejected the opportunity to name any bodies. When asked about its reason for rejection during a recent press conference, Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo, had said that it has differences with Government that are “more fundamental than just sitting on the body.”
He contends that the Natural Resource Fund Act was passed during a period when the Government was illegal (following the December 21, 2018 No Confidence Motion), and that that means it’s illegal. He further stated that the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) would win the next General and Regional Elections, and that it would – in no time – put all the necessary provisions in place to ensure Guyana’s readiness for oil, including a repeal and replacement of the current Natural Resource Fund in a very short period.
Of the PSC, Minister Jordan said “We have sent out letters to the PSC and they have not even favoured us with a response as to whether they are going to name their people to the different committees or not.”
The Minister had said that the accounts will be opened, but that the operationalisation of the fund would be hampered by the refusal of certain entities to name their committee members.
In a recent telephone interview with PSC Chairman, Gerry Gouveia, Kaieteur News was informed that the Commission is currently working on naming a nominee. The Chair noted that the Natural Resource Fund requires persons of a certain standard to perform the functions of the various committees, and provided that the PSC has resorted to looking overseas for capable candidates. Gouveia refuted any insinuation that the PSC may not have been cooperative with Government’s efforts to operationalise the fund.
The Act states that the Public Accountability and Oversight Committee has the specific responsibilities of monitoring and evaluating the compliance of the Government and other relevant actors with the Act’s provisions; monitoring and evaluating whether the Fund is being managed in accordance with principles of transparency, good governance and international best practices; providing independent assessment of the management of the Fund and utilisation of withdrawals; and facilitating public consultations on the management of the Fund and utilisation of withdrawals.
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