While Guyana’s Local Content legislation allows the subject minister to grant waivers to companies that encounter difficulties in meeting agreed targets for use of Guyanese goods and services, Energy Strategist, Anthony Paul says great care must be taken in the application of this provision as it could open the door for more requests for leniency.
During an interview on radio show, Guyana’s Oil and You, Paul praised the government for laying out 40 areas that must see Guyanese participation.
“Life is about learning and so, Guyana has put down a marker and it is testing it. From what I have heard, the Guyana government is ready to review these targets. Hopefully, with good data, they can fine-tune it, but it is important to remember that no one gets it right in the beginning,” the energy strategist said.
He added that with the 40-targets, which is not set in stone, Guyana eliminates the dangers of being approached constantly for waivers. But even with the power to grant exemptions, he said there is a danger in this because it can open the door for other kinds of behaviours that could result in the exception becoming the rule.
Paul said it is key that as Guyana transitions from what it aspires to have to what it really wants; it must remain guided by rules and guidelines for making exemptions. If those are granted, he said, they should be declared publicly and the reasons for same provided.
According to Guyana’s Local Content Act, the minister may waive the requirement for meeting local content targets, following consultation with the Secretariat; if it is found that the minimum level cannot be achieved due to lack of current Guyanese capacity; and if the previous Master Service Agreement executed by the contractor, sub-contractor, or licensee which is still in force before the law, prevents it from complying with the minimum levels contained in the First Schedule.
The First Schedule outlines a range of percentile targets to be achieved in 40 areas namely: immigration support services, transportation, metrology services, pest control, catering, local legal services, dredging services, insurance, medical services, marketing, security, ventilation, and ICT (information and communications technology).