By A. Bacchus – OilNOW
Local content has been the talk of the town since the oil and gas industry started developing in Guyana; everybody wants a piece of the pie. For citizens, it’s been questions on the possibility of a cash grant and for businesses, the burning concern is how they can tap into the supply chain. Understandably so, especially as it relates to the businesses, given that ExxonMobil spent more than $8.5 billion on 600 local suppliers by the end of March this year. This figure, it should be noted, only accounts for 2021.
In my last column, I examined the more readily available mechanisms for tracking the contract opportunities in the sector and pointed to the Centre for Local Business Development as a resource hub.
For those businesses already legally established in Guyana, signing up on the Supplier Registration Portal (SRP) is easy. However, what about those businesses that can provide pertinent services but may not necessarily have all the paperwork needed? Cleaning services, laundromats, landscaping, catering, logistics coordinating, vulcanising…I can continue listing services that are needed by companies within the petroleum sector, but because of the informal nature of many of the local providers of such services, they may not meet the requirements to offer such to the companies.
I recently reached out to Director of the Centre, Dr. Natasha Gaskin-Peters to better understand the requirements for suppliers and service providers in the industry. “For registration onto the Centre’s SRP, the minimum requirement is that the business must be a legal entity. For Guyanese companies this means that they must be registered with the Deed’s Registry and have a certificate to validate this from the Deeds Registry,” she informed me. For those companies that approach the Centre and do not check every box on that short list, the Centre provides the guidance for them to gain the necessary compliance in order to join the portal.
Getting Started- Get Registered!
Did you know that anyone 18 years and older can register a business in Guyana? To register your business, you would first need to register the business’ name. The application to register the business can be collected from the Deeds and Commercial Registry office on Avenue of the Republic, in Georgetown. A valid form of identification and a Taxpayer’s Identification Number (TIN) certificate will also be needed for this purpose. This process takes no more than three days. You would then need to have an Attorney complete the forms to obtain a certificate of incorporation and a declaration of compliance which states that, to the best of the declarer’s knowledge and belief, no signatory to the company’s articles of incorporation is a person described in Section 4(2) of the Companies Act, which states that persons under 18, of unsound mind, or with undischarged bankruptcies cannot form or join in the formation of a company, and that all the requirements of the Companies Act pertaining to the matters precedent to the registration of the company and incidental thereto have been complied with. It also takes three days to complete this phase.
Following these steps, you would need to file for a TIN for the business, which is done through the Guyana Revenue Authority, after which you will have to register to pay Value Added Tax (VAT). Your final steps would be to head over to the National Insurance Scheme to obtain an NIS employer number; and obtain a company seal—commonly referred to as a stamp in Guyana.
Once you meet these requirements, you qualify to register on the SRP. However, this does not mean that your business will automatically win contracts on this basis. There are some crucial requirements from oil and gas companies that include Health and Safety; Environmental and Regulatory Compliance; Quality Assurance; and operating in keeping with international best practices.
There are other steps that can be taken to make your business more competitive in the supply chain; however, for those unregistered businesses, you cannot win a race in which you have no horse. The guidance is there, the time it takes to register is not lengthy and the process is simple. It’s time to cut your slice of the pie!