As Guyana is approaching national elections, the Director of the country’s Department of Energy (DE), Dr. Mark Bynoe said the Department is cognizant of unrealistic expectations with regards to Local Content.
Addressing the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association’s (GMSA) Annual Awards Presentation Dinner on Wednesday night at the Pegasus Hotel, the Energy Official said that “one of the hardest tasks that policy makers have to tackle is designing and setting local content goals at the right level for Guyana’s circumstances. This task is made especially difficult because industrial capacity is unusually low and the socio-economic expectation and often-resulting political pressure demand quick success stories from local content measures.”
According to Dr. Bynoe, “The decision of whether to give into such expectations and pressures is particularly relevant in our national elections when populous promises tend to overrule realistic outcomes.”
Instead of going down this route, Dr. Bynoe said that the Department of Energy has taken a “considered, if not non-popular approach” to properly assess the relevant barriers to local development in Guyana and has therefore sought to design a fit for purpose Local Content Policy with requisite applicable measures, realistic policy targets and the measures to monitor effects of such policy implementation.
During a prior engagement, the DE Head had said that the goal to have a Local Content Policy by the end of the year remains. The third draft of the policy was released earlier this year for consultation and comments by various organisations in the South American country.
Dr. Bynoe further warned that the more unrealistic a goal and the more painful the penalty for not achieving it, the stronger the incentive will be among investors to circumvent that goal.
He also took the opportunity to update those present on the progress made with local content thus far. According to Dr. Bynoe, over 1700 Guyanese are employed in the oil industry, representing a 29 percent increase over the same period in 2018. The pool of local vendors being utilized in the industry is expanding, he said, with 485 being used in the third quarter this year alone.
There have also been more than 70 joint ventures established since the formation of the Centre for Local Business Development.