I think Mr Artur Deakin, AMI’s Co-Director of Energy Practice, has erred, as per the article entitled “New law to give Pres. Ali dangerous control over oil money”, which was carried in December 25, 2021 edition of a daily newspaper.
The article seems to connote that “[Mr] Arthur Deakin is of the firm conviction that the PPP/C Government’s Natural Resource Fund Bill 2021 gives a worrying degree of power to the President”. Further, Mr Deakin is even quoted as saying that “[t]he proposed Natural Resource Fund legislation is concerning. Although the original law gave too much power to the Minister of Finance, the new law simply transfers those powers to the President.”
I’m not sure what is Mr Deakin’s agenda, but I would like to speculate that maybe he would like to get the Government’s attention. Let’s face it, Guyana is ripe for investment, and consultancy services in oil and gas are booming. These so-called experts’ sole intention is to cash in lofty contracts, or maybe I’m exaggerating and the sole reason this buffoon is making headlines is that he is paid to do so by Guyana’s trending O&G Tik Toker goof.
Mr Deakin couldn’t be more wrong in his intuition of the new NRF Bill. First, the President has zero control over the oil money. Though the power lies in his hand to appoint members of the board of directors, and notwithstanding said board of directors would be responsible for the overall management of the fund, reviewing and approving policies of the fund, etc., by virtue of the legislation, all withdrawal will be subjected to parliamentary scrutiny. Meaning, regardless of the withdrawal amount (which is administered by a straightforward formula), every dollar will be closely scrutinised under a strict parliamentary process.
Further, based on Mr Deakin’s contention, neither the President nor the Minister should not be authorised to appoint the board members. Instead, “members should be selected by non-political institutions. Either the Private Sector or multilateral organisations, and confirmed by the National Assembly.” While this model seems to insinuate transparency and accountability, in the real world, this mechanism would introduce unnecessary burdens and bureaucratic mayhem. Members would be at a perpetual loggerhead, hence a situation that could open the door for corruption. The incongruity would also be extended to the notion of having a 22-member committee to provide oversight of the fund. Hence, it’s preposterous to think that a 22-member committee would efficiently execute their duty of providing oversight more than 9.