Review of local content policy to be completed next year – Gaskin

first_imgThe second review of the local content policy is expected to be completed by the first quarter of next year. This is so according to Business Minister Dominic Gaskin, who made the announcement while addressing a recent forum at the Pegasus Hotel.Business Minister Dominic Gaskin“There is currently a second draft local content policy framework being reviewed and consulted on. We’ve also recently completed a terms of reference for a consultancy to complete the local content policy based on consultations and a draft, also an implementation plan depending on whether or not legislation is going to be needed for the implementation. This process should be completed by the fourth quarter of this year or the first quarter of next year,” the Minister informed.He added that it was important for the new legislation to be ‘balanced’, since a ‘too strongly national’ local content policy can jeopardise the efficiency or the viability of the company being relied on to harness the resource.Gaskin, however, warned that Guyanese would not be able to benefit from the local content policy if they were unable to meet the capacity of the oil and gas sector. According to him, capacity development costs should be borne by the industry that is going to benefit in the long run.In continuing, the Business Minister advised that Guyanese should be willing to carry the burden of oil expenditure and not only seek to benefit from oil revenue.“As the owners of this oil, Guyanese people must become the main beneficiaries of those production costs. In other words, we have to benefit not only from oil revenues, but from the spending that is associated with oil production,” he pointed out.Gaskin said despite the fact that oil and gas will provide growth opportunities, persons should not only be dependent on job opportunities in the sector as he noted that “we should not be blinkered in our own approach to investments”.The primary aim of the policy is ensuring the education, inclusion, and advancement of as many Guyanese as possible in the industry.As ExxonMobil prepares to officially commence production in 2020, there is much preparatory work currently ongoing, which requires services tailored to the specific needs of the industry.The draft local content policy has been criticised in recent months for lacking provisions which would safeguard against exploitation by companies, especially since there have been intensified reports of the local companies being bypassed for contracts and services with foreign companies being favoured.The document does not cater for issues such as how to avoid procurement fraud, conflict of interest and favouritism, among others.According to the draft local content framework document, the policy seeks to address the suite of opportunities that may arise and the approaches to be taken in selecting and developing opportunities related to enhancing the capabilities of Guyanese nationals and businesses through training and well-tailored social contributions for greater impact and benefits among others.Earlier this year, following the closing of the inaugural Guyana International Petroleum Business Summit (GIPEX), the Private Sector Commission (PSC) vowed to continue pushing for an effective local content policy that would benefit all Guyanese.last_img

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