Guyana’s much-anticipated local content legislation appears is close to fruition with an announcement by Senior Petroleum Coordinator at the Ministry of Natural Resources, Bobby Gossai Jr., that a Local Content Bill will be heading to the National Assembly when the sitting resumes “in about a week.”
Addressing a diaspora investment forum, hosted by the Diaspora Affairs Unit, on Friday, October 8, Gossai Jr.—who was the Coordinator of the Strategic Stakeholder Consultations for the Local Content Policy—said that the Ministry is currently finalising the draft Bill.
“It will be on the Parliamentary Agenda when Parliament resumes in a week’s time,” he assured participants, later adding, “We want to make sure it is ready…the Draft Local Content Bill… and it will be presented to Parliament within the near future.”
Work on a Local Content Policy for Guyana began in 2018 and a final draft was completed under the now defunct Department of Energy in 2020. However, while the completed draft was submitted to Cabinet under the former Government, it was never laid in the National Assembly. Upon assuming office, the new government embarked on a new round of consultations, following which the new finalised draft was completed earlier this year. While work on this policy was ongoing, government officials had been alluding to the establishment of local content legislation which is legally enforceable as opposed to a policy.
According to Gossai Jr., the Bill will be the “driver” of the Local Content Policy and its objectives. The official also emphasised that there will be an ‘institutional arm’ responsible for the management of the day-to-day “local content operations”.
“The legislation will also allow for the creation of the mechanism which will implement the measures of local content, the monitoring of the Local Content Policy and the legislation itself, by the establishment of different inter-governmental agencies as well as a Multi-Stakeholder Group with the private sector,” he shared.
Furthermore, the Senior Petroleum Coordinator posited that the legislation itself will be one that allows for economic growth, local participation in the industry, more business development and increased revenue generation through the Local Content Policy. He added that the objectives of the policy must be realistic and realisable in the context of Guyana’s economy. “We will not put things in there that will not be achieved within a certain timeframe,” he stated. Gossai Jr. also explained that consultations will be held with stakeholders of the industry, “…to show them what we are putting in place in terms of a legislation and in terms of an overall policy,” to generate feedback.