Chamber calls for Local Content Commission to monitor, enforce policy and regulations

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As the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) awaits the implementation of a Local Content Policy and legislation as promised by the government, the organisation is lobbying for the establishment of a Local Content Commission to ensure that the policy and laws are enforced.

The soon-to-be finalised Local Content Policy, according to that document, “intends to inform the amendment process (and drafting, where necessary) of existing legislation, contracts, treaties and local, regional, and international experience, local content legislative instruments for public consultation and parliamentary approval, as appropriate.” Recently, Senior Petroleum Advisor at the Ministry of Natural Resources, Bobby Gossai Jr. disclosed that the draft legislation will soon be laid in the National Assembly.

Timothy Tucker

Speaking on this development on radio programme Guyana’s Oil and You, President of the GCCI, Timothy Tucker said that while they are disappointed in the length of time that it is taking, the Chamber understands the importance of ‘getting it right’. “We think that there must be a National or a Local Content Commission,” Tucker said, adding, “A Local Content Commission will ensure that it is a living, breathing legislation.”

The expectation is that such a Commission will enforce the regulations and penalise breaches. “…With a local content legislation, there has to be penalties, there has to be an oversight of the industry to ensure that those who are operating in the industry are doing what the legislation says that they should be doing—they’re reaching the target, they’re employing Guyanese, they’re procuring locally and they’re retaining Guyanese, and that retention of the finances are done locally,” the GCCI President continued.

It was further explained that the Commission being advocated for should be tasked with measuring and recording local content on a daily basis, monitor activities and guide the adjustment of the regulations when necessary.

The draft Local Content Policy already speaks to the establishment of a “Local Content Secretariat”, which will be a division within the Petroleum Commission, which will have responsibility for overseeing the implementation of the Policy and the pertinent regulations, “facilitating access by locals to opportunities, ensuring that locals are given the appropriate opportunities by operators and contractors and measuring and reporting on the performance of operators and the industry in setting and meeting local content and capacity development objectives.”

Additionally, a “Multi-Stakeholder Working Group on Local Content” chaired by government, will also be established, and will include representatives of key stakeholders’ groups, including the major operators, international services companies, local private sector including the financial sector, education and training institutions, non-governmental organisations, labour and civil society.

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