Once local businesses offer services at competitive rates, it is the desire of President, Irfaan Ali that they are given priority in the award of contracts by oil companies. The harsh reality facing many new, local startups, however, is that they are unable to compete with the foreign heavyweights of the industry for contracts awarded by ExxonMobil and other oil majors. Most locals lack the financial might and experience in addition to being hamstrung by their lack of proper certification that is required for the sector.
It, therefore, begs to question—how and when will the right environment be created to ensure Guyanese businesses get the push they need to be competitive? And will the government have a role to play in this?
In response to the aforementioned, President, Dr. Irfaan Ali, has assured that the government has every intention of doing its part to create the right environment as he said earlier today that locals can be assured they will get the requisite support from the government in terms of training and certification. He made this revelation during a two-hour press conference that was held at State House.
There, the President said, “As long as we have the capacity locally and we are investing in that capacity training and certification, and I see that the companies in the private sector are training to meet the standards required, then those jobs must come here to Guyana. There is no negotiation about this and we should not be second-guessing this. But how do we get to competitiveness?”
In addressing this crucial question that was raised by the media, Ali said one has to appreciate the state of the environment locals have to operate in. He said, “We have to understand, our competitors are sophisticated and shrewd, they have years of experience and they know the corners. In Guyana, we have a history of family-owned businesses and we don’t have a history of consortium type of activity…”
The Head of State said this much was explained to the private sector before, while adding that there needs to be a move towards more local partnerships so as to increase their collective chances of competing with internationals.
Further to this, Ali noted that increasing competitiveness will require a frank discussion with the oil companies, particularly as it relates to having them disclose what is required for certain services they need, followed by an assessment of Guyana’s capabilities and the time it will take to improve same so that the gaps can be closed.
Going forward, the President assured that the final Local Content Policy will ensure the foregoing issues are properly addressed.