By Bibi Khatoon
While Guyanese continue to push for a Local Content Policy for the oil and gas industry, United States Ambassador to Guyana, Sarah Ann Lynch says there are some negative signals emanating from suggestions being made.
Speaking at the first Annual General Meeting of the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) Guyana on Saturday at the Guyana Marriott Hotel, the Ambassador said “some recent suggestions of a Local Content Policy in Guyana may send a signal that some investors, and the employment and know-how benefits they bring, are not welcome.”
“At a time of increasing integration, especially in a globalised energy sector, focusing on who owns a firm is counterproductive.”
The Diplomat said emphasis should be on whether firms are allowing international best practices on matters such as financial transparency and environmental protection or otherwise acting in a manner that contributes directly to Guyana’s overall prosperity.
She added that foreign companies introduce international standards that local companies need to reach global competitiveness.
Director of the Department of Energy, Dr. Mark Bynoe recently announced that the Government has completed the draft Local Content Policy and it will be presented it to the private sector and other stakeholders.
He also announced that in the meantime, the Department is setting up a Local Content Compliance Unit which will be responsible for ensuring that foreign companies are employing as many Guyanese as they promised they would.
The US Ambassador noted that “Guyana should look to foreign investors as partners in growing the economy, rather than as adversaries.”
She pointed to the arrival of the Lisa Destiny – the first Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) – which arrived ahead of oil production in the Stabroek Block this week.
“Guyana is poised to become a major player in the global energy sector, with exponential growth driven by oil,” Lynch pointed out as she committed to promoting responsible and sustainable economic growth.
The Ambassador asked business persons at Saturday’s event to visualize a Guyana they want to see in a decade or three from now and urged them to be responsible in making decisions.
AmCham-Guyana on Saturday held is first AGM in celebration of its first anniversary since being launched in Guyana to promote trade between the two countries.