Minister of Business, Dominic Gaskin recently noted that companies need to build local capacity in order to maximize the value of local content from oil and gas activities. He was at the time delivering the feature address at the close-out ceremony of the Micro and Small Enterprise Development (MSED) programme.
Minister Gaskin said that a few days ago, he met with members of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) to discuss local content and concerns of the private sector on their ability to compete with foreign companies for contracts within the oil and gas sector.
He said that while many valid concerns were raised at the meeting, more needs to be done to ensure local businesses take full advantage of the oil and gas benefits.
“In order to earn billions of dollars, billions must be spent. We need to ensure as much of the money is spent in Guyana… We will not get half of it or see half of it being spent in Guyana, but in areas where we have a fighting chance, we must put up a good fight… We need to meet the stringent requirements of large international operators and be able to compete against established suppliers.”
Minister Gaskin further stated that a local content policy will only be effective if there is local capacity as well as businesses in all sectors.
“In a growing economy, all sectors are impacted; the discussion about local content is not only about oil and gas. It is about using the oil and gas sector as a catalyst for developing other divisions and for standards across all sectors.”
As such, he urged small business owners to ensure their produce/services to meet the international standards “so they can price products and services competitively.”
The minister also reminded the Small Business Bureau (SBB) of its role in assisting capacity building within the small business sector in ensuring small businesses are internationally competitive and export ready.
Over the past week, eight small businesses benefitting from SBB’s access to finance programmes participated in Guyana’s first ever business-to-business exhibition (GuyTIE). The products and services of the businesses were said to be well received by a number of international investors. Some of the export-ready small businesses were also invited to participate in Everything Vincy Plus Expo in St. Vincent in October.