President Dr Irfaan Ali today revealed that he is currently examining names of individuals to be appointed on the five-member Board of Directors to manage the Natural Resource Fund (NRF). This committee is expected to be made up of mostly civil society representatives.
During an interview with the media on the sidelines of an event today, the Guyanese Head of State noted that the selection and appointment of the Board will be “urgent”.
President Ali also made it clear that in selecting those individuals to sit on the Board, he will do so with the utmost integrity.
“I am the President, I am entrusted with the responsibility, I was elected by the people of this country, are you aware of that? And if I was elected by the people of this country, I was elected based on a programme in the manifesto that I have to implement because that’s a social contract between myself and the people and I think that the people have entrusted me with the responsibility, and I intend to execute that responsibility with great honour, dignity and integrity and you will see that in the Board,” he posited.
The NRF Act was recently passed in the National Assembly and has already been assented to by President Ali.
According to the proposed law, the NRF will be governed by a Board of Directors, comprising as many as five members, to be appointed by the President. The Head of State will also have to appoint a chairperson from that group.
The Director is to be selected from among persons “who have wide experience and ability in legal, financial, business, or administrative matters”.
The Bill provides for the National Assembly to nominate one of the directors, while another one will be a representative of the Private Sector. However, it explicitly states that the directors cannot be a Member of Parliament or anyone whose appointment will be a conflict of interest, among other restrictions.
It was noted too that the Directors will hold the post for not more than two years with eligibility for reappointment, and all appointments, as well as changes in appointments, are to be gazetted and published on the Ministry’s website and in two daily newspapers.
The new Bill states that the Board of Directors will be 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, and ensuring that the Fund is managed in compliance with the Act and all other applicable laws.
Moreover, the Board is also expected to report to the subject Minister, who is allowed to give policy directives as deemed necessary to their functions. In addition, the proposed legislation caters for the appointment of two committees, one of which is the Public Accountability and Oversight Committee, which will provide non-Government oversight of the Fund and comprises various civil society representatives, who will have to present a report to the National Assembly annually.