Local Content Policy to be completed before first oil – Energy Department
As criticisms loom over Guyana’s non-establishment of a Local Content Policy, the Government’s Energy Department has assured that the document will be ready long before first oil which is expected in less than two years.
This commitment was given more than three years after oil was first discovered off Guyana’s coast by United State oil giant ExxonMobil.
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. Speaking at the Ministry of the Presidency (MOTP) on Thursday, Energy Department Head, Dr Mark Bynoe assured that a second draft policy will be finalised before yearend. He says he has been collaborating with the Private Sector, a section of the economy which stands to gain wide-ranging benefits from a favourable Local Content Policy.
“It’s not only been with Government, [the Energy Department] has also been
engaging in the Private Sector which is anxious for us to move this into policy. They are content that there has been more than sufficient consultation and what we are aiming at is to take the points they would have raised and input them into the second draft before the ending of the year,” Dr Bynoe outlined.
He meanwhile, updated the press that once all is settled and ironed out, a white paper while be presented to the National Assembly to be debated upon. Dr Bynoe has been running the Department for the last three months and its aim is to be eventually set up as a separate ministry. He expressed that the final policy will be ready by 2020.
“Where I sit and where my colleagues sit; we are confident that there will be a Local Content Policy long before first oil,” the Energy Department Head assured.
He said that any decision the Department makes will be evidence-based, data and information driven as opposed to be determined by whims and fancies.
Business Minister Dominic Gaskin has said the second review of the Local Content Policy is expected to be completed by the first quarter of next year as Government wants new legislation to be ‘balanced’. Its position is that a ‘too strongly national’ local content policy could jeopardise the efficiency or the viability of the company being relied on to extract the resource. According to the draft Local Content Framework document, the policy seeks to address the suite of opportunities that may arise and the approaches to be taken in selecting and developing opportunities related to enhancing the capabilities of Guyanese nationals and businesses through training and well-tailored social contributions for greater impact and benefits among others.
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.