If it is Guyana’s desire to have an oil industry that is led by its brightest and most capable minds, there are some crucial issues the authorities of the day will have to address. According to Trinidadian Energy strategist, Anthony Paul, one of the key problems Guyana has to tackle quickly is its high levels of brain drain. During a recent interview, Paul noted that Guyana’s net emigration rate is estimated at 9.67 percent, the seventh highest in the world.

The Energy Strategist said, “…There is a lot of talk about getting local content right but the onus is on Guyana to adequately prepare. This means developing its citizens as well as bringing back its most experienced and brightest minds that will lend to enriching the local content value…”

Paul said too that the nation’s Local Content Policy must also have a clear vision as to where the country is heading and how these developed capabilities and persons retained from Diaspora, will fit into the equation. The industry expert noted that the policy however is just one part of the bigger picture. He said that it must be underpinned by a strategy that says how Guyana intends to achieve its local content goals and over what time period while working in partnership with oil companies.

Following this Paul said will be the need for Guyana to have to ensure that it has robust legislation in place which gives independence and financial power to an accountable regulator. The industry expert said, “…Unless you have a strong accountable regulatory body with the responsibility to report to the people of Guyana, there is no way of knowing whether you are progressing or not, whether you are retaining value and who is failing to do their job.”

He added, “Always keep in mind the end game, meaning what kind of destiny Guyana wants as an oil producer, how does it intend to get there and how does it ensure that its people lead the way.”

Paul was keen to note too that how Guyana uses its oil revenue plays a bigger part in the destiny it wants to achieve as this will impact the lives of many more Guyanese than local content. “This will take into account how you intend to spend on developing your infrastructure for gas and improving domestic electricity consumption. So there are many facets of the industry that can impact the lives of people. Local content is one, and an important one, but we shouldn’t lose sight of the others… If we can do all of these prudently, it would make a big difference in economies like ours,” the Local Content Expert concluded.


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