Key amendments will soon be made to the targets enshrined in the Local Content Law 2021 so that Guyanese can better support the booming oil and gas industry. This is according to Senior Petroleum Coordinator for the Ministry of Natural Resources, Bobby Gossai Jr.
During a virtual panel discussion earlier this week, Gossai Jr underscored that the government is updating the law, which currently outlines that Guyanese must be given first preference when procuring goods and services in 40 areas of work. These areas include transportation, catering, accounting, public relations and rental of buildings. The law also mandates that oil companies employ specific percentages of Guyanese for their operations.
Following a year of implementation and review, the official noted that the amendments to the target areas are being done because the government believes that Guyanese are capable of providing other services to the booming industry.
“We have companies, we have individuals that are capable of providing goods or the service and companies well capable of providing for the oil and gas sector… the law will be adjusted to include other areas and new opportunities that we’ve seen that have grown over the years,” he said.
Gossai Jr also noted that some of the challenges faced during implementation of the law will be ironed out this time around. He added that one such thing will be the definition of what is considered a Guyanese company. “One of our biggest challenges was to determine in terms of interpretation, manner of heritage line, of a Guyanese and we saw that challenge coming up very, very quickly…” Gossai Jr noted.
He highlighted that while the government saw it as an effective policy to allow local companies to have an opportunity to grow in the industry, the challenge came with the definition of heritage-partnerships, rules of partnerships, or rules of joint-ventures.
“What we found is that there were some cases where external investors who wanted to come into Guyana, but they weren’t going through the right channels. They were seeking to present, sort of what we would term a window-dressing approach. On paper it’s a different thing they were saying about the company but in reality it was a different approach,” Gossai Jr explained.
He continued that this created a challenge for the Local Content Secretariat – the body which functions as the focal point for the monitoring, evaluation, coordination, and reporting of Local Content in the petroleum operations of Guyana.
The ministry official assured that those issues will be addressed in the upcoming period for amendments.