A new approach adopted by groups representing Guyana’s business community coupled with recent statements from a key government official, have served to renew optimism at the level of the country’s private sector, in its approach to preparations for first oil.
Guyana’s Private Sector Commission (PSC) said in a statement at the weekend that following a meeting on Friday, a commitment was made for the business community and key stakeholders to speak as “One Voice, One Private Sector”.
The PSC Chairman, and members of the Energy Sub-Committee met with representatives of the Guyana Oil and Gas Association (GOGA), and the Guyana Oil and Gas Energy Chamber.
PSC is the umbrella body representing the country’s business community. Its Chairman, Eddie Boyer, told OilNOW on Saturday that at the national level, and on matters that affect the entire business community and economy, the various groups will be taking a unified approach when arriving at positions and making recommendations.
While meetings have been ongoing between private sector groups, government and US supermajor, ExxonMobil, Mr. Boyer said the idea now is to have the private sector groups adopt a more streamlined approach to these engagements. “It’s more of a national effort of bringing together all the chambers to look at national policy such as the Petroleum Bill, for example, and as we go forward there are going to be a number of issues…so we’ll be doing that in the context of one body. These groups are and will remain independent in their own rights,” he said.
Referring to recent comments made by Guyana’s Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan, Mr. Boyer said, “The indications coming from the government in that we should be more prepared, and obviously, there must be standards and systems in place from the standpoint of all stakeholders…this is encouraging. I hope that at least in another year we would have more or less covered a preliminary stage to say that we’ve gone this far,” he pointed out.
Mr. Jordan told business people gathered at a dinner hosted by the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association (GMSA) on Thursday evening in Georgetown that key measures are being put in place in preparation for first oil and that his government remains committed to working with the private sector. He said full public consultations on key initiatives, such as the draft Sovereign Wealth Fund legislation, are also being planned.
The finance minister’s speech was well-received by members of the business community gathered at the dinner, with some commenting that it was refreshing to hear of several interventions and plans, some of which were not previously publicly articulated by government.
Among issues discussed at the private sector meeting were the future of Guyana’s economy in light of the oil and gas discovery by companies operating in the Stabroek Block, governance and oil and gas, the draft Local Content Policy, the Petroleum Bill and key issues relating to the sector which should engage the attention of the private sector in the coming years leading up to production.