In 2016, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) pleaded with the government to have its relevant departments trained and properly resourced to report on the Natural Resource Fund.
But it has been more than one year since that recommendation was made, and the Government seems to be stuck in a state of slumber. Specifically, the IMF told the Ministry of Finance that based on the draft Natural Resource Fund Law, the Accountant’s General Department needs to develop new skills and knowledge to be able to prepare the required reports.
It said that the Department should also ensure that the current rules and procedures are updated and that it should start building capacity to meet these demands. The Fund said, too, that it is important for the Finance Ministry to decide soon, how in and outflows from the Natural resource Fund will be reflected in budget documents as well as in regular financial reports. The Green Paper presented to the Parliament was silent on all these matters.
The IMF warned that if Guyana did not start these capacity building exercises in 2017, it would be running the risk of having poor or ill-prepared accountability mechanisms for the Fund.
The Guyana Standard was able to confirm today with officials from the Ministry of Finance that efforts to build capacity have not started.
Finance Minister, Winston Jordan recently noted that while these IMF recommendations are important, the government lacks the finances to effect them.
He said, “You know everyone is criticizing but where are the solutions? These things require money. I don’t think people get it. There is only so much that can be done. Right now we are focusing on getting the debate started on the Green Paper and then taking the draft legislation to the House before year end. We cannot be jumping all over the place and implementing everything at once.”
Even though preparatory works are late, Jordan assured that Guyana will be ready by 2020 to properly manage the Natural Resource Fund.