With oil blocks up for grabs, GMSA says local companies should partner & bid

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Days after President Irfaan Ali officially launched the auction for new oil blocks in Guyana, the country’s manufacturers believe that local companies should partner with each other and foreign companies to bid for those blocks.

It is also believed that spin-off developments will spur greater business opportunities for local content, according to the President of the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association (GMSA) Rafeek Khan.

Khan and the GMSA’s Chairman of the Trade, Investment & Legal Committee Ramesh Dookhoo hosted a press conference on Monday where they lauded the newly-launched auction.

“We need to prepare ourselves and we need to prepare oursselves for the opportunities to come,” Khan said almost ominously.

With production ongoing in just one offshore oil block, the prolific Stabroek block, many Guyanese and local companies have been able to cash-in on business because of Guyana’s Local Content law.

President of the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association (GMSA) Rafeek Khan (right) and Chairman of the Trade, Investment & Legal Committee Ramesh Dookhoo at a press conference (Photo: News Room/ December 13, 2022)

But with 14 new oil blocks up for grabs by May 2023, the manufacturer thinks that Guyanese can capitalise.

“… I don’t know if it is enough time but we need to work fast to get businesses prepared,” Khan contended.

Whether local companies bid for these blocks or they bid for other business and support services in the oil sector, Khan believes Guyanese should partner and pool their resources.

He also thinks that local companies can partner to set up the oil refinery the government has advertised. And if locals go after any of these opportunities, he committed the GMSA’s support.

Though these new developments offer existing business opportunities for locals, Dookhoo addressed several concerns.

According to him, too many local companies still believe that they are competing with each other. As such, partnerships are not readily formed and foreigners are able to capitalise on business that can be done by Guyanese.

Another sore issue that is frequently highlighted is access to much-needed finances to invest in such large-scale projects.

Dookhoo explained that the local banking sector, for example, remains risk-averse and is not eager to fund these large undertakings. As such, he called on the Bank of Guyana to examine existing regulations and determine how these can be improved to help stimulate business and investments from the local private sector.

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