Creation of Local Content Registers to start as early as next week – Minister Bharrat

The People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) government has already signalled its intention to commence the creation of the Local Content Registers as early as next week. This follows the passage of the game-changing Local Content Bill 2021 on Wednesday evening in the National Assembly.

Sharing this news was Minister of Natural Resources, Vickram Bharrat, M.P., during a press conference held at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre (ACCC) on Thursday.

Minister of Natural Resources, Hon. Vickram Bharrat MP

These two registers, as proposed in the Bill, will deal specifically with the procurement of goods, and secondly, the provision of skills and employment. Minister Bharrat noted, however, that the commencement of this register is dependent on whether President Mohamed Irfaan Ali assents to the document.

“The [Act] will require Guyanese to register with the Local Content Secretariat at the Ministry of Natural Resources,” Minister Bharrat noted. “Even with the passage of the Bill, this does not mean the end. We promised that we will have continuous consultation.”

Such continuous consultation will pave the way for the government to expand the list of services that are outlined in the first schedule of the Local Content Act. For instance, the oil and gas companies operating in Guyana, as well their contractors and sub-contractors must procure from Guyanese companies by the end of 2022, 90% of office space rental and accommodation services; 90% janitorial services, laundry and catering services; 95% pest control services; 100% local insurance services; 75% local supply of food; and 90% local accounting services. These are just some of the 40 different services outlined in the first schedule.

“It is not limited to those 40 services. We realised that these are the 40 areas in which we have the capacity to offset the demands,” Minister Bharrat said.

Oil and gas workers offshore Guyana

In another year or so, the Natural Resources Minister stated that the government may develop the list to 10 or even 50 new services. This number will be informed by the human resource capacity, he noted. He went on to point out that this increased figure is directly linked to the importance of continuous consultation.

“A true assessment of our capabilities will have to be done overtime, and the implementation of this Act will aid in this… We need a strong Local Content Bill in place to ensure that benefits trickle down to every single Guyanese, regardless of if you are a farmer, regardless if you are a welder, mechanic, the catering business or the waste disposal business – everyone should benefit from the oil and gas sector and the opportunities that arise from this sector.”

Notably, the passed Bill contains 10 amendments that were proposed by the main Opposition, the APNU+AFC.