The Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Guyana (FITUG) is deeply concerned about the mechanisms being proposed to manage and safeguard the wealth that would accrue from the oil and gas sector. In his regard, specific reference was made to the anticipated establishment of the Natural Resource Fund (NRF).

FITUG it is not satisfied with the withdrawal rules for the Fund. These rules can be found in the Green Paper on the Fund that was laid in the National Assembly on August 8. The Green Paper states that any withdrawal from the Fund would be paid out to the Consolidated Fund and aligned with the National Budget. It would then be passed through the National Assembly for approval.

The Federation said, “The Green Paper presented speaks to withdrawals from the NRF influenced by budgetary demands and requirements and this is where we are fearful that the monies may not be utilized in the best possible manner especially recognizing that utilization of the funds can be approved by a simple majority.”

The Federation said it is of the view that the use of the Fund’s resources should also be  guided by a well-articulated and carefully crafted development strategy which outlines the goals the people of Guyana wish to attain. It added that such a strategy, which should involve the views of the Guyanese people, should have clear timelines and easily measurable objectives.

It said, “Such an approach, we believe, will ensure that we get optimal returns from the monies we will earn. While we know the Government will, in all likelihood, point to its Green State Development Strategy (GSDS) we believe that document requires greater detail if it is to meet its stated objectives.”

The Federation said there can be no argument for the establishment of an NRF as a vehicle to save oil receipts and use such monies to develop the country. It stressed however that in the absence of the right checks and balances, there would be a continuation of the “squander-mania attitude we have seen pervading now-a-days…”

As such, FITUG said it wants to see a national conversation regarding the use of the NRF. It said that if the government is indeed serious about inclusionary democracy, then such a course of action would be forthcoming.


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