Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Ghana provides more support to Guyana on its wealth fund, local content legislation

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Fruitful discussions continue between Guyana and the West African nation of Ghana. The two countries held a meeting this week to press on with a joint consultation on Guyana’s Natural Resources Fund (NRF) and its highly anticipated local content legislation.

On Tuesday, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Mohabir Anil Nandlall, SC, met with Professor Joe Amoako-Tuffour, Secretary and member of the Economic Management Team attached to the Office of Vice President of the Republic of Ghana.

The two officials, who received support and guidance from the Ministry of Natural Resources’ Petroleum Unit and several counsellors attached to the Legals Affairs Ministry, spoke at length about these two important laws needed to ensure the prudent management of Guyana’s oil and gas industry.

Professor Joe Amoaka-Tuffour shared lessons that were learnt by the Ghanaian government when drafting its wealth fund legislation. The senior academic also related the experiences of eight oil-producing countries which he had studied and explained the various strategies and mechanisms that were implemented to overcome the myriads of obstacles. Amoaka-Tuffour was quick to caution against Guyana aspiring for the “perfect legislative framework” based upon other countries. He emphasized that with time and experience, Guyana will have to develop its own “unique” framework.

Meanwhile, the Attorney General explained that in drafting the amendments to the NRF Act and with the objective of insulating the fund from political interference, transparency, accountability and a rigid framework were the tenets established.

In relation to the local content bill, the Attorney General emphasized that “strenuous efforts” are being made to ensure and achieve a clear framework that would protect Guyana and its people’s best interest. Nandlall further explained that the legislative endeavours draw “heavily” from the experiences of Ghana, the input and expertise of Amoaka-Tuffour, a number of other jurisdictions whose legislation were examined, as well as from consultations done locally.

Just over a month ago, a high-level delegation from Ghana commenced the analysis of Guyana’s local content legislation with the Attorney General and his team of lawyers. That Ghanian delegation comprised of Kwaku Boateng; CEO, Ghana National Gas Company; Benjamin Asante; and Snr. Technical Manager at Ghana National Gas Company, Abraham Mensah.

A local legal committee comprising of lawyers and drafters from the Chamber of the Attorney General, persons from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and officials from the Ministry of Natural Resources was constituted after the meeting.

“This team will spearhead Guyana’s pursuit of legislative changes in the oil and gas sector,” Nandlall had said.

Further, this committee will work jointly with the delegation from Ghana to develop a local content law that meets industry best practices. Other matters pertaining to the legislative infrastructure of the oil and gas industry have also been tabled for discussion.

The draft local content bill is still to be passed in the National Assembly. President of Guyana, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, has given his assurance that this legislation will be laid in Parliament before the end of 2021.

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