Chatham House Advisor and Local Content Expert, Renee Roger Tissot is of the firm view that Guyana is placing itself in a “disadvantageous position” by not identifying a focal institution to monitor local content compliance by ExxonMobil.
During an interview with the Guyana Standard today, Tissot articulated that it is important to establish a focal institution, committee or administrative unit since that body would be able to properly coordinate the design, approval, and implementation of local content plans across the life cycle of an oil project.
The Local Content Expert said, “While such a focal institution can be established as a supervisory committee of a petroleum contract, a more long-term approach would be to establish a national local content agency or unit that will oversee local content in multiple sectors of the Guyanese economy.”
Apart from serving as a one stop shop that will streamline the approval processes for local content implementation, Tissot argued that such an institution would also provide methodologies and tools for operators to report and monitor their compliance with local content requirements in their contracts so as to minimize disputes.
The Chatham House consultant said, “By empowering and establishing a focal institution on projects, investors across multiple sectors can even obtain relevant information and develop a standardized approach to tracking, monitoring and complying with local content requirements. A coordinated approach can also reduce duplication and overlap, conflicting regulations, increased administrative costs and delays.”
Further to this, Tissot said that he does not agree with a Ministry being tasked with monitoring compliance on local content provisions. He insists that this is a job for personnel with the requisite personnel; personnel that would make up a focal institution.
Tissot added, “And it is clear that such a focal institution is needed. If you recall, it was earlier this year that Exxon gave the Ministry of Natural Resources a list of companies it utilized as part of its local content programme. That list included the market, taxi services, restaurants and so forth. That would be rejected in other countries. Exxon would have been penalized…”
In conclusion, the local content expert said, “Guyana is wasting time and it is hurting itself as well as its private sector without a rigourous focal institution.”