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Guyana's local content policy ready – Energy Director


Raul Gallegos, Director at Control Risks, shared his insights on how to make the most of Guyana oil reserves and avoid wealth mismanagement during the Offshore Caribbean Congress 2019 in Georgetown, Guyana.

By Davina Ramdass / Kaieteur News

Petroleumworld 07 14 2019

The Director of Energy, Mark Bynoe, has revealed that the long-awaited Local Content Policy has been submitted to the Department, which in turn will be submitted to Cabinet. He was, however, quick to note that with the political situation with Government, there will be a delay on the policy being enacted to legislation.

At present, Guyana has a caretaker Government after the Caribbean Court of Justice ruled that the APNU/AFC Administration toppled after the No-Confidence Motion was validly passed on December 21, 2018.

In an interview with Guyana Times on Saturday, Bynoe was reluctant to give further details but would only say that a “press conference” would soon be scheduled to answer further questions relating to the policy.

The Department held a press conference in May where Bynoe had expressed the hope of having the consultancy phase completed by June.

The Government's Energy Department Head had assured that the document would be ready before first oil, which is now due in a matter of months. This commitment was given more than three years after oil was first discovered off Guyana's coast by United States oil giant ExxonMobil.

Meanwhile, only recently, acknowledging that the passage of the No-Confidence Motion would delay the full implementation of the necessary frameworks ahead of first oil slated for early 2020, President of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) Nicholas Boyer posited, however, that the governing coalition had sufficient time to put systems in place, especially since oil in commercial quantities was discovered simultaneously when it entered office over four years ago.

“I don't think we have the time but I think we should have been doing this from a while now because these things have been talked about for a year or two now. We can look at the date that the Petroleum Bill was laid over, we can look at the date the first consultant, Anthony Paul, was hired for the draft Local Content Policy. These didn't start yesterday. So if I had to say if are we doing a good job in terms of implementing, [I'd say] no because we spent money, we've taken action and we failed [to put key regulatory infrastructures in place],” Boyer told reporters on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, former Private Sector Commission Chairman, Desmond Sears spoke about the fact that there is need for a stronger Local Content Policy as the draft legislation is still missing key elements as to how it will achieve its goals.

According to Sears, the need for local content policies and practices being embedded within the legislative framework is critical at this point, given that oil production is expected within a few months' time.

Although the importance of this legislation cannot be underscored enough, he mentioned the inadequacies of the current draft, prepared by the Ministry of the Presidency's Department of Energy.

However, as important as the legislation is, he pointed to the equal prominence balance would take, given that a strong LCP can scare away investors.

Like the Private Sector, the Opposition People's Progressive Party has also blasted the Government for its failure to have this key piece of legislation produced.

The Local Content Policy will guide the State in guarding against local companies being bypassed for contracts and services with foreign companies and workers being favoured.

The draft Local Content Policy has been criticised for lacking provisions which would safeguard against exploitation by companies. It had been reported that the document does not cater for issues such as how to avoid procurement fraud, conflict of interest and favouritism, among others.

Story by Davina Ramdass from Guyana Times
07 14 2019


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