GCCI submits draft Local Content legislation to Gov’t

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Tired of waiting on the Government, the Georgetown Chambers of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) created its own draft Local Content legislation which it has submitted to the Government.

Pointing out that three years have already gone by, GCCI President Deodat Indar lamented that “we’re at a point where we have to draft our own legislation.”

The document, which was prepared by GCCI Members over the past few months, was submitted Wednesday to President David Granger, Minister of Business Dominic Gaskin, Attorney General Basil Williams as well as the Leader of the Opposition, Bharrat Jagdeo.

There are no local content laws in Guyana but the Government has drafted a local content policy which the GCCI has described as “fluff”.

Chairman of the GCCI’s Petroleum Committee, Nick Boyer told reporters at a press conference Wednesday that the policy has unnecessary “preamble” and it does not outline how the plan will be implemented.

He says the policy does not provide a clear understanding of the definition of a ‘local company’ neither does it include reporting mechanisms to ensure the operators are actually purchasing from the local economy.

The GCCI’s draft legislation proposes a more concise definition of Guyanese citizens and companies.

For example, a Guyanese company means any company that is registered in Guyana where 51% of the share capital is owned by Guyanese citizens, the company’s headquarters is located in Guyana and its board meetings are held in Guyana.

The draft legislation basically stipulates that an operator must ensure that first consideration is given to Guyanese companies in the provision of goods and service directly related to the petroleum industry.

The GCCI hopes that the Government accepts the document in good faith and at least put concrete structures in place so that foreign companies are legally obligated to purchase locally.

Indar suggested that a law or policy be implemented quickly and then it could be revised after a period of time if flaws are subsequently noticed.

Indar said there are about 60 to 100 companies registered with the GCCI which have submitted expressions of interests to supply various goods or services but have not received responses.

Indar could not say, however, if the contract was instead awarded to another local supplier or a foreign company.

But he is of the firm view that capable local companies are being sidelined for foreign companies.

A few months ago, ExxonMobil released a list which showed that over 200 Guyanese businesses benefiting from their operations.

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