Since American explorer, ExxonMobil, struck black gold in the Stabroek Block, much has been said about the millions of dollars the country stands to gain in the coming decades on the sale of its crude. Numerous reports were produced and reported on, looking at the various scenarios in which Guyana’s Gross Domestic Product would increase as a result of the new industry. The same analysis, however, was not done regarding the opportunities Guyanese could access in terms of jobs and contracts to provide goods and services.
This, compounded by the absence of a proper local content policy and legislation has not allowed Guyanese to truly have maximum participation in the sector. Sharing this perspective recently during an interview on a local radio show was Senior Vice President of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), Timothy Tucker. He strongly advocated for there to be more publically information on how Guyanese can get a bite of the oil pie.
The GCCI official said, “The local private sector does not know all the opportunities in the oil sector…The information is not readily available. I cannot tell you for example the criteria for welding in the sector or certifications I need. Do I need an American Petroleum Institute Certificate, do I need ISO?”
Tucker said that this state of affairs needs to change while noting that he was pleased to see it highlighted in the draft Local Content Policy.
He said, “There is a section that speaks to the release of information on the industry to be documented and shared. And from the Chambers standpoint, we are suggesting too that an internal capacity survey is done by a third party so that we can actually check the capacity of the local private sector to see what we can and cannot do.”
Even if the results of such a survey are not available in time for the completion of the policy, he said that it can be amended accordingly in the future as it is not set in stone.