Jagdeo says some local content recommendations could shut down industry 

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A draft of Guyana’s local content policy has been in the public domain for some time but the government earlier this year ramped up consultations with a view of completing the document and implementing its provisions.

On Monday, Vice President Dr Bharrat Jagdeo welcomed help from Ghana to assist local authorities in finalising the document by the end of 2021.

“We are holding down on the definition of what a local company is,” Jagdeo said.

Referencing Ghana, he said their definition of a local company is 51 per cent ownership by Ghanaian citizens, 80 per cent of Ghanaian management and 100 per cent Ghanaian unskilled labour.

This, Jagdeo said, was “very attracted” but he criticised local recommendations put forward for inclusion in the final document.

“Some are unrealistic and can shut down the industry,” Jagdeo said while assuring that the provisions in the local content policy will no doubt be carved out specifically for Guyanese.

Asked for clarity on his statement, Dr Jagdeo told the News Room that he still needed to engage further with the private sector. “I don’t want to go into details.”

Providing a lone example, he said there is a request for Guyanese to provide engineering services at 20 per cent but the Vice President fears the country doesn’t have that capacity in its locals.

“We don’t have people who can engineer FPSO and stuff like that. It has to grow over time.

“We can’t look at compromising quality in that regard,” he said.

Jagdeo said the government is strict on other things like the rental of properties and said he is fixed on setting realistic goals.

“There is simply no local skills in some areas and we can’t slow down the industry,” he added.

Dr Jagdeo said by 2022, the government will set up a national training institute to train over 100 locals a year and hopes to churn out hundreds of welders.

“We are not just putting in place the framework but the mechanism to ensure companies comply with obligation by training people to ensure they can access the opportunity.”

The policy, while it will address the oil and gas sector to a large extent, will be a national policy that regulates local content across all sectors.

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