Guyanese business group calls for swift implementation of local content framework

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Private Sector Commission of Guyana Chairman, Desmond Sears, delivers address at the Liza Phase 1 Supplier Development Forum held on December 3-4 at the Guyana Marriott Hotel in Georgetown.

The Private Sector Commission of Guyana (PSC) is calling for the swift implementation of a local content framework within which local businesses can operate and meaningfully benefit from opportunities in the emerging oil and gas industry.

Speaking at the Liza Phase 1 Supplier Development Forum held on December 3-4 at the Guyana Marriott Hotel in the country’s capital, Georgetown, PSC Chairman Desmond Sears said the business group welcomes foreign investors to the country’s shores who are willing to adhere to the laws of the land.

“We are firm believers in sanctity of contracts and we advocate for good corporate governance and ethical business practices,” Mr Sears pointed out.

The Commission, he said, recently submitted its comments on the Government of Guyana’s second draft local content policy framework document and is of the view that “this policy should be implemented as soon as possible with a date of revision so that local businesses can be given due consideration to be part of the supplier network.”

Additionally, the PSC Chairman said, “It is our hope that operators and suppliers adhere to the local content policy, utilizing locally produced goods and services along with Guyanese labour, in direct and indirect oil and gas operations and support services.”

He said the PSC, which is the largest umbrella body representing Guyanese businesses, is aware that the petroleum industry is new to the country and the nature of exploration and development operations leave little room for companies on a learning curve to supply services. To this end, he pointed out that local businesses have been actively building capacity and seeking partnerships with international companies with experience in the industry, as Guyana gears up for first oil in 2020.

“Given the race against time before oil production, for sure it is an uphill task for the local private sector to service activities in and around the oil and gas sphere. However, this is also a developmental journey for Guyanese businesses and citizens to benefit from knowledge transfers and technological spillovers to earn a better living and to improve the way we do business,” he said.

The business group, Mr Sears pointed out, is not advocating for mandatory use of local content where certain services and skills may not be available. To meet the standards, he said that businesses are investing heavily to develop competencies so that they can benefit from opportunities that will arise.

Guyanese business representatives have participated in a number of trade missions over the past 12 months exploring partnerships with companies in Newfoundland and Aberdeen. “In Guyana we are also receiving delegations from other countries who are looking to expand their service operations here. Massive training is being undertaken as companies try to position themselves to adopt and benefit from the transformation,” he stated

ExxonMobil Guyana’s Centre for Local Business Development (CLBD), he said, has been playing an integral role in training and capacity building for Guyanese businesses. “We have seen companies benefiting from specialist training, also attaining ISO certification, and also proprietary information once registered in the supplier’s portal.”

The PSC Chairman said the business group will continue to work closely with stakeholders to ensure Guyanese companies are best positioned for opportunities in the industry.

The Supplier Development Forum was hosted by ExxonMobil Guyana and CLBD and provided local companies listed on the Supplier Registration Portal with an opportunity to directly meet the Prime Contractors for Liza Phase 1 and learn more about their procurement needs.