‘While we bicker, business is going elsewhere’ – GCCI President
President of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) Nicholas Boyer on Wednesday expressed concern about the delay in the passage of critical policies to govern the oil and gas industry.
With oil production set to begin in months, Boyer referred to delay in the passage of the Petroleum Commission Bill, which will lead to the setting up of the Commission to regulate the industry.
“While we bicker, business is going elsewhere,” Boyer stated.
Boyer pointed out that the Bill was first tabled in the National Assembly on May 8, 2017, but has not been passed after two years.
The Petroleum Commission Bill was sent to a special select committee after the Opposition said the bill put too much power in the hands of the Minister of Natural Resources. In 2018, it was disclosed that the Bill would be redrafted by a World Bank expert.
Speaking with the media at the Chamber’s Waterloo Street, Georgetown office on Wednesday, Boyer said that with the current political situation, it is unlikely that the bill will be passed before oil production begins in 2020.
“I think we should have been doing these things for a while now as [they] were talked about almost a year or two now,” Boyer pointed out.
While he agrees that the Commission should not be aligned to any political party, he said the Bill should have been done in a “national consensus way.”
Boyer noted that the bickering between the Government and Opposition does not affect foreign companies which are operating in the oil and gas industry but Guyanese.
“If we keep fighting, they’ll continue to get more of the business…we could have gotten ourselves set up and running,” he added.
He also spoke about local content policy.
“I don’t think there was enough pressure or push for a local content policy because if there was, it would have been done by now,” he stated.
The Local Content Policy was drafted but never made it to the National Assembly.
The full Assembly has not met since December 21, 2018, when the No Confidence Motion was passed against the Government.
The GGCI President said the businesses are not directly affected by the passage of the No-Confidence motion or events which followed.