Dr. Wilde stated, “the main components were the relationship between the Sovereign Wealth Fund and the annual budget, ensuring that all petroleum revenues are transparently paid into the fund. The management of the Sovereign Wealth Fund, which ensures appropriate checks and balances and the Ministry of Finance is the overall manager on behalf of the government, and that the Bank of Guyana is the operational manager. We also talked about the reporting arrangements and auditing arrangements, which should ensure that the fund is transparently and well managed with a number of reporting requirements.”
The Commonwealth expert, who has experience in helping to craft similar legislation in other countries, added that reports compiled quarterly and annually to international standards “must be submitted to Parliament and be made public.”
The Ministry of Finance is preparing to present a number of rules for withdrawal, from the fund, Dr. Wilde noted. “There will be discussions with Cabinet about those rules. Once that decision has been taken, they will be put in the Sovereign Wealth Fund legislation, with the aim finalising it, presenting to and having it approved by Parliament.”
Finance Minister, Winston Jordan described the briefing as an opportune time to brief his Cabinet colleagues on what to expect, legislatively. Work on the Fund’s legislation which is compliant with the Santiago Principles and international best practices has been ongoing since 2016. Minister Jordan said, “we have been doing the work at Finance with Dr. Wilde and other stakeholders that have given us assistance, so we are near to breast the tape, so to speak.”
For Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman, the progress being made, may not be as swift as some would want. He opined, “progress for me has to be slow. It has to steady and it has to be safe. We don’t want to rush legislation and we would have consulted far and near, in countries around the world and listened to experts. and ensured that the Santiago Principles and the key elements of a good sovereign wealth fund are present in this bill.”
According to Minister Trotman, the government is on track to have the Sovereign Wealth Fund, in place before oil production starts in 2020.
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