Guyana’s Local Content legislation is designed to increase citizens’ participation in the oil and gas sector in at least 40 areas of work. These include rental of office space and equipment, catering services, janitorial and laundry services, and public relations.
These categories can indeed generate millions of dollars in revenue. But they only account for the fundamentals or basic opportunities in local content, says University of Guyana Professor, Dr. Leyland Lucas.
While the law does require Guyanese participation in these areas, the educator warned that the full value of these opportunities risks being underutilised due to the lack of competencies.
Candidly speaking, Dr. Lucas said the domestic business sector needs to uproot the culturally known inefficiencies in its mode of operation and replace it with a new business model; one that is fuelled by a sense of timeliness and effectiveness. Dr. Lucas said this is the level of performance that is expected in the oil and gas industry, even with the most basic services. He alluded that a laid-back attitude can even harm relations with international partners.
The UG Professor said it will be necessary for the administration’s regulatory arm to ensure systems are in place for the training of local businesses so that they can excel when sought out by international contractors.
He said, “It is going to be a learning process and it will take place over time. Nevertheless, I strongly advocate that we seek to take advantage of the basic opportunities that exist. Even in providing food supplies etc, we can no longer say ‘I forget it; I gun get it to yuh tomorrow’. The culture has to change on timeliness. We have to help our companies along the way.”
If the authorities can get the foregoing in order, Professor Lucas posited that Guyana would be setting the stage for how it intends to take advantage of high-end opportunities in the oil industry and have its locals part of the upper echelons of the value chain.