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Saturday, February 27, 2021

Operators must tell local businesses about upcoming opportunities, President says

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The Guyana Government is seeking to make it a policy that oil and gas operators have to provide advance notice to local businesses in relation to upcoming opportunities to provide goods and services to the industry.

While the over 2700 Guyanese companies registered with the Centre for Local Business Development and the public are already benefiting from such information from ExxonMobil Guyana and its prime contractors, President Irfaan Ali and his administration are looking to have this requirement streamlined into the Local Content Policy.

During the stakeholder consultation on the draft policy on Monday, February 15, President Ali stated, “Whilst the government will set targets, I think the operators…so this is not just Exxon…the operators must be brought to a forum in which they say, ‘This is our requirements over the next 20 years. These are the areas that we want, that we will have services that we will need.”

The objective is to have the operators commit to this practice so that a support mechanism is developed in order for local companies to build their capacities and become more competitive in order to tap into the contract opportunities. The President is of the firm belief that if opportunities exist and the local private sector knows, they will build their capacity accordingly.

This expectation has been enshrined in the draft Local Content Policy which has outlined the ‘Role of Operators’ and stated that, “Local Content will only happen when a Guyanese is employed, or a Guyanese company is contracted to deliver goods or a service. To qualify to be engaged, Guyanese must be capable of undertaking the tasks or participating in the activities, with at least enough basic knowledge and/or experience to learn on the job.”

According to the draft policy, to get prepared, Guyanese must know what goods and services are needed, what capability and competencies these require, how many, when and for how long the goods or services will be needed. “Only then can Guyanese institutions design and deliver training and development programs efficiently and effectively or can businesses invest in equipment, materials, facilities, technology, etc. or parents invest with a sense of comfort in their children’s higher education,” the document states.

The guidance document continues to emphasise that access to accurate, up-to-date, and appropriately granular data and information are critically important to decision making for this range of stakeholders at this early stage. According to the policy, the limitations of the current demand are further compounded by an absence of information and uncertainty as to the future potential level of activities and demand for goods and services required.

“In this uncertainty, any investment to facilitate and support capacity building for Guyanese participation and value addition in Guyana must be well considered, strategic and flexible to respond to changing circumstances around the state of the petroleum resource base, activity levels and the capacity of the local supply chain. Notwithstanding, data should be accessed and integrated into the planning process at the earliest point, even if this means including caveats as to uncertainty,” the policy reads.

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