Arctic Yearbook 2014 - Page 210

210 Arctic Yearbook 2014 In February 2014, the public policy report, “A Question of Future Prosperity: Developing a Heritage Fund in the Northwest Territories” was launched. The report was a response to perceived gaps in the current proposal for fund governance structure and called for clear deposit rules, a strong investment mandate, and adequate transparency and oversight. Key recommendations sought to inform how mineral revenue management in the NWT could be improved, taking into account the unique circumstances and context of the territory. The six key recommendations made were (Briones et al. 2014): 1. Establish clear fund objectives to achieve a dual objective of savings and stabilization. Allocate more than 5 percent of annual resource royalties to the Heritage Fund. 2. Set up a statutory framework for deposit and withdrawal rules. 3. Appoint a Supervisory Council to oversee the Heritage Fund. 4. Develop a robust investment mandate. 5. Establish strong Fund governance, including transparency mechanisms. 6. Continue citizen engagement to ensure public support and the long-term viability and success of the Heritage Fund. Since the report’s launch, the GNWT has implemented the first of these recommendations, and is considering others, which are outlined in greater detail in this paper. Roadmap for the Future: Four Key Issues for Fund Implementation As a follow up to earlier public dialogues and consultation, in May 2014, the authors were invited by the Legislative Assembly of the NWT Committee on Priorities and Planning to discuss the recommendations for the fund’s implementation. In preparation for upcoming debate on new legislation and regulation, fund oversight and governance were discussed with the Committee in greater detail. Topics of discussion included: the importance of establishing a clear objective for the fund; developing an investment strategy; and governance rules. In May 2014, citizens were also welcomed to participate in a public dialogue.19 Attendees expressed concern about transparency, specifically outlining the need for an audited report issued separately from the regular consolidated statements to the Assembly. It was important to people that these statements be available in easily accessible language and contain clear and transparent information about fund activities. Contributors to the public dialogue session recognized that a strong NWT Heritage Fund has the potential to build up capacity for oversight in the territory. As previously outlined, through the Resource Revenue Sharing agreement, Aboriginal governments will also be inheriting new resource royalties at a rate of 25 percent of the territorial government’s share. The key principles of strong natural resource revenue management highlighted in this paper will therefore also be of interest to Aboriginal governments, as they decide on the management of the new royalties. Work with the NWT Committee on Priorities and Planning and the public has reinforced the need for further research, policy development, and drafting of legislation in the following four key areas: A Question of Future Prosperity