Higher levels of accountability and transparency will be delivered to Guyanese as the PPP/C Government delivered on yet another campaign promise to manage revenues from the oil and gas sector prudently.
President Dr Irfaan Ali on Monday afternoon appointed members of the Natural Resource Fund (NRF) board, and the Public Accountability and Oversight, and Investment Committees.
The members received their instruments of appointment at a simple ceremony at the Office of the President, Shiv Chanderpaul Drive, Georgetown.
The members of the NRF board are; Chairman of the board, Major General (ret’d) Joseph Singh; Guyana’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations (UN), Ambassador Carolyn Rodrigues; former President of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) Professor Compton Bourne; Dunstan Barrow, and Ramesh Dookoo of the Private Sector Commission (PSC).
The members of the Public Accountability and Oversight Committee under the NRF Act, comprise Chairman, Clement Sealey; Wendell Jeffery; Abu Zaman; Ryan Alexander; Dawn Gardener; Aslim Singh and Teni Housty. Other members Desmond Sears and Savitri Balbahadur were unavoidably absent.
The letters of appointment were presented to Shaleeza Shaw (chairperson), Michael Munroe, Richard Rambarran and Lauris Hukumchand of the Investment Committee.
The Committee is responsible for advising the NRF Board on matters that concern investment of the oil funds, in a way that maximises the benefits to Guyana.
While addressing the appointees, President Ali said the government is pleased to be able to fulfill this important responsibility. He noted that the management of the nation’s oil and gas resources is now strengthened with the establishment of the board and committees.
“As a government, we want to assure you of our full support in ensuring that you can execute your mandate and you can perform your duties with ease, efficiency and the necessary impetus that is required to make your work efficient,” he told the members.
The president highlighted the importance of the NRF board to the management of Guyana’s natural resources. The members, he acknowledged are persons with knowledge and experience in various fields.
“It gives us, I think, a combined capacity and capability that will bring true value to the management of all resources of our oil resources,” he further stated, while referencing Major Singh, who dedicated years of his life to the development of Guyana at every level.
The president clarified that initially, UK Member of Parliament David Lammy whose parents are Guyanese, was announced to serve as director of the board. However, he explained that due to changes in his requirements in the UK, Lammy has asked not to be a part of the board at this time.
As a result, Lammy was replaced by Professor Compton Bourne, whom President Ali described as “a man of great stature, a Guyanese we are all very proud of.”
The Natural Resources Fund Bill, No. 21 of 2021, was passed in the National Assembly on December 29, 2021. Section 5 (1) of the NRF Act provides for a Board of Directors of the Fund comprising not less than three and not more than five members, who shall be appointed by the President, inclusive of a chairperson.
According to Section 5 (2), the Directors are selected from persons who have wide experience in legal, financial, business or administrative matters, one of whom shall be nominated by the National Assembly and one of whom shall be a representative of the private sector.
According to the Act, the directors are responsible for the overall management of the fund, reviewing and approving the policies of the fund, monitoring the performance of the fund; ensuring compliance with the approved policies of the fund; exercising general oversight of all aspects of the operations of the fund and ensuring that the fund is managed in compliance with this Act and all other applicable laws.
Also present at the ceremony were Vice President, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo, Prime Minister, Brigadier (Ret’d) Mark Phillips, and Senior Minister in the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh.