World Bank approved local content specialist contract – Energy Director
The contracting of British local content specialist, Dr Michael Warner to help Guyana with its local content framework has been defended by Department of Energy Director, Dr Mark Bynoe, who has noted that Warner was appointed with the backing of the World Bank.
Warner is presently the Director for Local Content reporting, Sustainable Business Group of the DAI Global. It was DAI Global that helped to launch and then manage ExxonMobil’s Centre for Local Business Development (CLBD) based in Guyana.
At a press conference on Friday, Dr Bynoe was asked about Warner considering his links with Exxon. But Dr Bynoe expressed confidence in the specialist and the services he would provide.
“He is not an ExxonMobil specialist,” Dr Bynoe clarified. “He’s a local content specialist, whose expertise has been used by a multiplicity of entities, inclusive of ExxonMobil. Guyana is utilising his services.
“And we have hired him based on a competitive process where, like other consultants, he had the opportunity to have his CV (Curriculum Vitae) submitted to us. It was sent to the World Bank, who’s financing this project. And we’re confident that we are getting value for money.”
In February of this year, it was announced that a contract to the tune of over US$100,000 was awarded to Dr Warner for individual consultancy services to the State pertaining to the oil and gas sector.
This was one of several contracts that had been approved by the Government. The local content specialist has also presented on Guyana’s own draft Local Content Policy, where he gave it positive reviews.
It had previously been announced that the Department of Energy was collaborating with the Private Sector in order to draft the Local Content Policy. A draft Local Content Policy created by the Government has previously been criticised for lacking provisions which would safeguard against exploitation by companies.
This was especially since there have been complaints from local companies of them being bypassed for contracts and services, with foreign companies being favoured. This has been countered by observers noting the lack of capacity among local companies for certain services, something that must be built over time.
The document did not cater for issues such as how to avoid procurement fraud, conflict of interest and favouritism. According to the draft local content framework document, the policy seeks to address the suite of opportunities that may arise.
It had also addressed 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 initial draft, after being released, was unfavourably critiqued by an Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)-sponsored report. According to the report, Guyana’s draft was missing critical parts of generally accepted local content principles. For one, the report stated that the draft policy did not contain concrete targets or performance metrics.
Former Business Minister Dominic Gaskin had announced last year that the second review of the Local Content Policy is expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2019.