The Guyana government says its goal is to enable international operators and services companies to identify local employees and suppliers from within Guyana and in the diaspora.
Stakeholders in Guyana’s business community are continuing their review of a draft local content policy developed by the agency responsible for the country’s extractive industry; the Ministry of Natural Resources.
The Draft Local Content, Capacity Development and Value Addition Policy Framework takes into consideration the challenges Guyanese face with being able to provide the necessary skills required now, in an industry set to take off with first oil by 2020. Recognising this reality, a push is being made by authorities for a “Doing it in Guyana if we can; doing it by Guyanese will follow” approach.
Guyana intends to learn from the success and mistakes of those who used local content as a facilitator of national development.
“Given the limitations and uncertainty as to the future potential level of activities and demand for goods and services that will be required, any investment to facilitate and support capacity building for Guyanese participation and value addition in Guyana must be well considered, strategic and flexible. It must respond to changing circumstances around the state of the petroleum resource base, activity levels and the capacity of the local supply chain,” the document stated.
The government is looking to pave the way for future generations to carry on the mantle in the sector, according to the document. The draft policy framework states that government will be seeking to point out to investors and operators in the sector that “all decisions must first consider the best interests of all Guyanese, including future generations.”
“We take pride in the knowledge that, in spite of our small population and limited resources, through our history we, along with our neighbours in the region, have had to face much bigger challenges and have flourished, rather than wither at the prospect of facing difficult odds,” the document said.
As it relates to strategy, the government plans to start with areas where Guyana has existing capabilities or where some of its service providers can readily transform to meet the industry needs.
It also wants to work in collaboration with industry to identify the roles required to conduct their activities and the requisite competencies and certifications. This, it foresees, will ensure that Guyanese are prepared well in advance for future opportunities.
The draft document outlines that work would be done with stakeholders to inform training and other capacity development programmes, infrastructure development and local financing and investment in the sector.
Additionally, what the government wants to do is identify the existing supply base, in terms of skills, services and certifications, and make these available and accessible to operators and contractors (local and international), other agencies of government, training institutions, development partners and individuals in Guyana and the diaspora. The objective of this was identified as giving locals a fair chance to submit their credentials to be considered for participation.
The government says its goal is to enable international operators and services companies to identify local employees and suppliers from within Guyana and in the diaspora.
According to the draft policy, monitoring of foreigners who are seeking work in the sector will be in effect. It highlights that the government will “Support those managing work permits, to help them identify local skills gaps and make work permit conditions tools of capacity development, rather than barriers to entry of requisite skills.”
To achieve this, the Guyanese government will implement the measures in a staged manner which would involve reviews and adjustment of the approach as needed. The draft document highlights a seven-point plan which details how it would ensure that Guyanese are placed first.
Guyanese are to be given first preference where capability exists, according to the draft policy framework. Furthermore, the government stated that it intends to develop the competencies of its locals “where the demand supports the required investment.”
Additionally, the government plans to partner international participants with Guyanese, to enable technology and knowledge transfer, and access to investment opportunities for Guyanese. To support this, it was said that they will facilitate the entry into Guyana of international service providers and experts.
According to the draft document, the government intends to extend Guyanese participation where it supports national development, and enables global competitiveness. What it foresees doing as well is using the petroleum sector’s demand to build strategic assets, skills, training institutions and businesses that support the sector.
This policy, it said, will apply to participation by Guyanese in all parts of the value chain, including the mid and downstream activities of the sector, whether conducted within or outside of Guyana.
The government indicated that it wants to develop and implement appropriate regulations to ensure clarity, transparency, accountability and consistency in the application of this policy.