Only one word can be used to describe the third draft of Guyana’s Local Content Policy—Junk! This is according to Chartered Accountant, Christopher Ram who, in his recent writings, lambasted the author, UK Consultant, Dr. Michael Warner, for not even assigning his name to the draft document.
“…In all my years of work, I have never come across a Report that does not bear the name of the author,” an impassioned Ram wrote.
The Petroleum Academic was also critical of the fact that who stakeholders consulted on the draft Policy did not include the Minister of Natural Resources, the Director of the Department of Energy, the Minister of Social Protection including the “Minster of Labour”, the Minister of Business or leading Trade Unionists. In fact, as the Consultant on a Policy that would be guiding Guyana for the next 40 years, Ram said that Dr. Warner should have insisted on either meeting Cabinet or receiving a substantial brief.
He was not surprised however that Dr. Warner was keen to note that the stakeholders he engaged with included ExxonMobil and other oil companies.
Ram said, “…Evidence of Warner’s unfamiliarity with Government’s intention, let alone policy, is evident on Page 3 when he describes as “subject to confirmation”, whether the Government is considering codifying the policy through regulation, underpinned by the necessary legal framework. This hodge-podge of a document is so weak and unclear that it would be impossible to codify in any form.”
Further to this, Ram said it is disgraceful that more than four years after the discovery of oil, there is no Local Content Policy by whatever name. He opined too that it may be too late for such a policy since those who are already here as a result of Guyana’s inaction and lack of any policy, cannot be excluded.
The Chartered Accountant said, “Clearly, the Granger Administration has not treated the matter either as important or urgent and so there have been three drafts over three years with hardly any forward movement.”
If there is any honest intention to claw-back value, Ram stressed that the existing draft needs to be scrapped. He said what Guyana needs is a sound and well-structured Local Content Policy – one that is reasoned, reasonable and practical, with the concomitant legislation force to ensure compliance.