309 Guyanese companies benefit from ExxonMobil
By Devina Samaroo
ExxonMobil’s Public & Government Affairs Advisor Kimberly Brasington announced at the private-sector Oil and Gas summit today that the company has been playing its part to ensure that Guyanese benefit from the oil and gas industry.
She disclosed that 309 Guyanese-owned firms have been contracted to provide services to the oil giant. She noted too that companies which were contracted by ExxonMobil also provide opportunities for Guyanese.
Brasington further explained that ExxonMobil also has a database of more than 600 companies that can be utilized for services at any given point in its operations here.
Meanwhile, the importance of a local content policy was underscored by speakers at the forum which saw over 50 persons in attendance.
Brasington explained, however, that ExxonMobil can only do its part to contribute to the development of the country in this regard. She said the bulk of the benefits will be realized depending how the oil revenues are managed by the government.
Minister of Business, Dominic Gaskin disclosed that Government is reviewing a second draft of the document.
However, President of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) Deodat Indar said the organisation will be submitting its own draft local content policy for consideration.
Indar stressed the importance of Guyanese being afforded opportunities in the sector and he cautioned against skilled foreigners taking advantage.
“We have to be careful of what are some of the skilled labour we allow in this country, what are some of the systems we have to put in place for workers’ permit to make sure that Guyanese people, although we are late on the curb, we have a fighting chance to be employed in the sector,” he stated.
As such, he called for robust training and capacity building initiatives for locals and even suggested the establishment of a separate institution to train Guyanese in all areas of the oil and gas industry, including how to capitalize on spin-off sectors.
Chairman of the Private Sector Commission, Eddie Boyer expressed similar sentiments in his remarks and urged that entrepreneurs be on the lookout and pounce on opportunities that are available.
“We can enter partnerships, collaborate in different skill sets, get up to spend with the skill sets that may be lacking and all in all, be the entrepreneurs that we can be,” Boyer stated.
Country Representative of the Inter-American Development Bank, Sophie Makonnen emphasised the need for local firms to build their capacity and improve their standards to be able to meet the demands of international companies.