The Local Content Bill can be seen as the “perfect Christmas gift” for Guyana and with that critical piece in place, President of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), Timothy Tucker has called on locals to “tighten their belts” and increase their standards to reap the benefits brought on by oil and gas.
Tucker was in high praise of the Local Content Bill that was laid in the National Assembly on Thursday, noting it is what the GCCI has been advocating for “for more than five years.”
“This is a perfect Christmas gift for Guyana. It’s long we’ve been advocating for this; for well into five years so we welcome it.”
He further added, “This is what everybody wants because we at the GCCI, three presidents now have been fighting for local content and the fight spans two governments. This is something that is historical and beneficial for all of Guyana,” Tucker shared during an interview with the News Room on Friday.
The Bill is up for debate on December 29 at the next sitting of the National Assembly and Tucker expects that it will face much criticism from the Opposition Members of Parliament. But the GCCI Head strongly believes that the subject should foster real collaboration between the government and opposition.
Among the key elements that the GCCI welcomed was the definition of a “Guyanese Company.”
According to the bill, a Guyanese Company should only mean any company incorporated under the Companies Act which is beneficially owned by Guyanese nationals who ultimately exercise, individually or jointly, voting rights representing at least fifty-one per cent of the total issued shares of the company; and have Guyanese nationals holding at least seventy-five per cent of executive and senior management positions and at least ninety per cent of non-managerial and other positions.
“So it is from the labour force all the way to the beneficial persons, those who are benefiting financially from the sector. It covers every aspect and that is very welcoming for us, it is something that we have been advocating for,” Tucker said.
And another key element Tucker pointed to, was the flexibility of the targets outlined for the 40 sectors in the Local Content Bill.
With the document proposing a raft of demands on foreign companies to ensure they use Guyanese individuals and companies for everything – from catering services to accounting by the end of next year – it leaves much room for locals to significant build capacity, the GCCI Head noted.
“Tighten your belts, raise your business, build your capacity, because we as a Guyanese business sector, we have to stop thinking one-dimensionally.
“We can just think about ourselves. And just think about what we’re doing today and what we’re going to do tomorrow… we have to create inter-generational wealth so you have to build those businesses, turn them into conglomerates, turn them into companies, come together, create joint ventures – do what is necessary to really reap the benefits of the sector,” Tucker underscored.