The Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) and the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association (GMSA) said on Saturday the position of the new administration on local content development in the oil and gas sector is welcomed.
Vice President, Bharrat Jagdeo, told reporters on Friday the government will be moving to put stringent measures in place to ensure more benefits from oil and gas are derived by Guyanese which will see legislation being enacted, instead of just a policy.
“It will be mandatory on the company to comply with the legislation. So…we want to get the best technical inputs before we come up with a negotiating brief that will be cleared at the policy level and then we want to engage directly with Exxon[Mobil] to see that this happens,” Mr. Jagdeo said.
On Saturday, the business groups said they are pleased with government’s push to establish a new framework to maximise opportunities for Guyanese businesses in the oil and gas sector.
“GCCI and GMSA look forward to working with Government in the development of the framework which will benefit Guyanese businesses and aid in the development of the private sector of Guyana,” the business groups said.
Speaking on Friday, Mr. Jagdeo said all efforts will be made to ensure that Guyanese are treated fairly, and allegations of discrimination are thoroughly addressed.
“We made it clear to ExxonMobil too that the sub-contractors – they can’t claim well ‘that’s our sub-contractor who is doing this’ and therefore, in our engagement we try to meet the Local Content Provisions,” he said. “… a lot of their work is farmed out to sub-contractors who operate here in Guyana who have been paying our people, basically wages that are discriminatory, not comparable wages for comparable skill.”
The Vice President said the government will be insisting that workers “must be paid fairly and that the sub-contractors too, and all of those who have been bringing in people where we have some of the skills, that those sub-contractors too, that they have to observe the strict local content legislation when it comes on board.”
He said President Irfaan Ali has expressed “a great desire to train a large number of Guyanese” and efforts will be made to enlist the support of ExxonMobil and other companies operating in the South American country, to further this initiative.