Discussions on policy, certification, impact of local legislation in O&G sector on the cards – VP Jagdeo tells Inaugural Local Content Summit

Just a year and three months after the Local Content Act was passed in the National Assembly, MBW Energy Support Services Inc. (MBWESSI), headed by Chief Executive Officer, Mrs. Abbigale Loncke-Watson, Tuesday hosted the Inaugural Local Content Summit.

Held under the theme ‘Sustaining Supplier Development through Local Content Partnership’, the summit is designed to facilitate knowledge exchange for Guyanese small enterprises interested in working in the energy sector.

Vice President, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo, who delivered the keynote address, said that the summit is the first in a series of meetings that will be held to discuss policies and certification, and review the impact of the legislation.

Vice President, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo

He noted that while it was uncommon to see such summits in Guyana, the Local Content Summit is ‘sufficiently narrowly focused’. The VP was adamant that it could allow the government to bring valuable discussions to the people of Guyana.

Dr Jagdeo also underscored that the components of the summit are demonstrative of the act’s success. These include the discussions centred on its role in fostering economic growth, examining ways of strengthening local capacity through its employment, and looking at best practices from around the world.

These components, Dr Jagdeo added could kickstart the review process to guide the amendments to the Local Content Act.

“The local content Act was not an act that you could just take, maybe, practices from other parts of the world and transpose them in a major way, into the local legislation,” he explained.

The vice president reminded attendees that the amendments to the local content act were finalised after an iterative process to develop legislation appropriate for the development of goods, services and capacity in Guyana.

The VP noted too that the policy is one of the key things that will ensure a sustainable economy for Guyana in the future.

“It’s important that if we want the local content and the building of Guyanese capacity to mean something and to grow in the future years, we have to keep the industry dynamic and vibrant very long into the future, so that the local industries can develop capacity at scale in a sustained manner, and they can also be able to amortise the major investments that we are making now as a consequence of the local content act,” he said.

Meanwhile, Minister of Natural Resources, Vickram Bharrat, noted that the local content capacity has grown tremendously beyond the 40 categories outlined in the Local Content Act.

He highlighted that in order to realise the full potential of local content, the non-oil sector must be incentivised.

“There are so many opportunities that are available, and there are many, many more that will come. So, we have to ensure that we gear ourselves, and prepare ourselves, especially the young people in Guyana. You must take the opportunities now. Now is the right time,” he implored.

Minister of Natural Resources, Vickram Bharrat

The Local Content Act of 2021 was passed on December 31, 2021 to ensure that Guyanese reap the economic benefits of Guyana’s oil and gas industry.

It was a step by the PPP/C Government to encourage the growth and development of local businesses, as well as skilled Guyanese.