“We need a local content policy now! Our local companies are being sidelined. And what is happening is that the foreign companies have an inside track to the primary suppliers and they are getting the big contracts.”
Those were the words of President of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), Deodat Indar yesterday.
At an “emergency” press conference on local content, Indar said that “many” foreign companies are providing services which several indigenous businesses are not getting the chance to offer. He said that these services relate to the supply of food, fabrication works, meet and greet services, brokering work etc.
When challenged to provide statistics to prove his case, Indar said that he does not have this information. In fact, he said that this is the job of the media to do. He said, too, that the media should also ask the relevant authorities to answer that question.
Indar was also asked to say what percentage of his 220 Chamber members tendered for contracts from ExxonMobil but foreign companies were chosen instead. He could not answer. His colleagues, GCCI Vice President, Nicholas Doerga and Junior Vice President, Timothy Tucker said however that these are areas they can look into and provide answers at a later date.
Without statistics or any analysis, Indar still posited, “The primary contractors for ExxonMobil are supposed to take on local companies but they are not. The contract makes this very clear that they must give preference to locals…Sometimes we believe that it is happening and sometimes it is not…”
Pressed to give names of foreign companies benefitting more than locals, Indar declined. He said that the Chamber is not in the business of naming and shaming companies.
He continued to claim however that Guyanese companies need some level of protection in the oil and gas industry.