Even though Office of the President has said it will perform an oversight role for the oil sector, including how moneys would be expended, it may not be the most ideal approach for ensuring transparency says Analyst at Americas Market Intelligence (AMI), Arthur Deakin.
In his most recent writings, Deakin said it is vital for ministries, in this case, the Ministry of Natural Resources, to have a certain level of independence from the Cabinet so as to ensure transparency and avoid political coercion. Deakin said this is especially true when billions of dollars in oil revenues are about to enter the country’s coffers.
Further to his take on avoiding opportunities for political coercion, the analyst strongly contended that it would assuage citizens’ fears if the administration swiftly established the public oversight committee for the National Resource Fund (NRF), whose role will be to ensure government compliance with the NRF Act.
For the time being, the Fund, which is held at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York has collected over US$90M in royalties and sales executed by the government regarding its share of the Stabroek Block profit oil. The Fund is managed by Central Bank but the overarching legislation stipulates that there should be at least one committee made up of civil society actors to review the work of those tasked with collecting and spending the said money.
The PPP/C Administration has not outlined its plans for establishing an interim committee. It has noted however, it will revise the old legislation to make it stronger before spending a cent from the account. There has been no timeline on when this would be achieved.