Business group staging public forum on local content policy

Members of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI).

The Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) will bring together several prominent members of Guyana’s business community and other stakeholders for a roundtable discussion on the highly anticipated third draft of the Local Content Policy released by the Department of Energy earlier (DoE) this month.

GCCI president, Nicholas Deygoo-Boyer said the third draft of the Policy appeared to be an improvement on earlier versions, but maintained that key elements must be refined in order to maximise the policy’s benefits for Guyanese.

He said the meeting in Georgetown is intended to inform stakeholders about the draft Local Content Policy, and record their observations and concerns, which will then be incorporated into the Chamber’s official position on the Policy.

“The Local Content Policy Roundtable Discussion is intended to inform as well as stimulate thoughts of a wide cross-section of stakeholders in and around the business community. The positions garnered are intended to be considered for inclusion in the official submission of the Chamber’s position for Local Content to the DoE.

“Therefore, in a general sense, the objective of the roundtable is two-fold – to inform the stakeholders in and around the business community of the third draft of the Local Content Policy, the Chamber’s position on the general thrust of the policy, as well as, to solicit their views for improvement of the policy,” Deygoo-Boyer explained.

Deygoo-Boyer explained that the third draft of the policy requires further adjustments.

“Notably, the third draft of the Local Content Policy represents an improvement of the previous two drafts, but needs substantially more work to be suitable for the Guyanese context. The Guyanese economy is a young economy, with a younger private sector. We intend to garner more perspectives from the roundtable on this pertinent point in shaping the Local Content Policy to arrive at a suitable document for our context,” Deygoo-Boyer said.

DoE Director, Dr Mark Bynoe, at a press conference last month, said that the draft policy more clearly defines a local company and what constitutes local content.

“What it has sought to do is to better identify ‘how do you define a local?’ ‘How are you going to measure what is actually local content?’… those are two critical elements we have to focus on…if you become too pedantic, then much of your time will be spent trying to track and capture and incurring substantial transaction costs in terms of what is actually local,” Dr. Bynoe stated.

He further explained that the third draft of the policy also seeks to build the framework for capturing data on local content for all foreign oil companies operating in Guyana.

Guyanese business operators have been expressing concern with the absence of a functional local content policy framework, as the country moves closer to becoming a key oil producer in the region.