SWF not “slush fund or ATM” for politicians – TT consultant

Dr Neil Parsan

Trinidadian oil and gas consultant, Dr. Neil Parsan, has advised that stringent measures be put in place to guard against the abuse of the Sovereign Wealth Fund (Natural Resources Fund) by politicians.

“I would…caution any country with the intent of establishing such a fund to have the frameworks in place, the transparency and accountability in place, the measures in place…it [SWF] is not a slush fund nor is it an ATM,” Dr Parsan stated.

He was at the time speaking during a panel discussion at the Second Annual Guyana International Petroleum Business summit and Exhibition (GIPEX).

The discussion focused on strategies to ensure successful transition during the big boom.

According to the Trinidadian Consultant, there is always a political agenda in everything but this must be superimposed by a national agenda.

On this note, Dr Parsan posited that Guyana needs to have well equipped policies in place for corporate governance as well as ensuring that the right people are put in the right places.

In the absence of the parliamentary opposition, the coalition government went ahead and passed the Natural Resources Fund Bill in January 2019.

The legislation, which deals with saving and investing revenues from Guyana’s oil and gas sector, was subsequently assented to thus paving the way for the establishment of the oversight and investment Committees.

But while concerns are mounting that the adequate infrastructure is not in place as the country moves into oil production within weeks, Dr Parsan said there should be no worry.

“It’s a process and it takes time, bearing in mind the gravity of the time-frame between what was recently discovered to when/where first oil could come,” he said.

“I am pretty confident that as we overcome these small political nuances, the government of the day would do the responsible thing.”