If Local Content Policies are not properly drafted and implemented, much room is left for corruption to reign freely. This point was recently made by Local Content Expert, Renee Tissot during an exclusive interview with Guyana Standard.
Tissot noted that in his preliminary examination of Guyana’s second draft policy, he was unable to locate a single provision that guards against conflicts of interest, favouritism, undue influence by politicians, and hindrance to public access to information on all local content related activities.
The Local Content Expert noted too, that the policy does not call for the disclosure of beneficial ownership or establishes clear and effective rules on public procurement. Tissot said that countries such as Angola, Equatorial Guinea, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, Russia, South Africa and Zimbabwe have documented lessons of how corruption can become rampant in the absence of effective rules and provisions.
To underscore his point, the Brazilian national pointed to the case of Nigeria where there are requirements for oil companies to partner with budding local companies to ensure that Nigerians were able to build their own capacity. Tissot noted however that the lack of efficient procurement rules and provisions regarding disclosure of beneficial ownership led to corrupt schemes wherein political elites created shell companies to profit from the framework.
The Local Content Expert said that countries can mitigate the potential of corruption in local content by requiring transparent procurement processes and making information easily available to oversight actors, such as civil society, the media and parliamentarians.
He stressed that compliance with requirements to disclose the beneficial owners of extractive companies and subcontractors, such as those being piloted under the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), will also help reduce corruption and the elite capture of local content opportunities.
Overall, Tissot insists that it would be in the interest of all Guyanese to ensure rules are injected into the policy to guard against the issues cited earlier.