Gov’t exploring appeal, other options in CJ’s ruling in RAMPS Logistics local content certificate matter

The Government of Guyana is exploring all available options, including an appeal of the Chief Justice’s ruling in the RAMPS Logistics Guyana Incorporated judicial review local content certification matter.

The Ministry of Natural Resources in a press release today said the government respects the rule of law and will comply with the ruling. However, there are strong concerns by the ministry regarding the eligibility of this particular application for local content certification.

Government has also taken note of the recent settlement by the company and the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) on the matter of tax evasion and the ongoing litigations in 10 false tax declarations to the GRA by the company.

The GRA, on October 5, instituted the 10 charges against RAMPS Logistics Guyana Inc. following the conclusion of investigations carried out by the Law Enforcement and Investigations Division of the agency.

The investigations had revealed that during the period 2021 to 2022, the company made several untrue declarations to the GRA.

The company, which was incorporated in 2013 in Guyana and parented by RAMPS Logistics Limited in Trinidad and Tobago, had been denied a local content certificate by the Local Content Secretariat, which falls under the purview of the Natural Resources ministry.

The Local Content Secretariat had determined that the information submitted by the company was insufficient for a proper compliance evaluation to be conducted by the secretariat, in accordance with the requirements of the Local Content Act.

Although failing to meet the requirements for the local content certificate, the logistics company moved to the High Court seeking orders to force the Local Content Secretariat, to issue the document.

A Fixed Date Application (FDA) seeking several declarations and orders was filed in the court, including that “as a Guyanese Company” it is “entitled” to be issued with a Certificate of Registration and to be entered into the Local Content Register.

It was reported earlier in 2022 that some 51 per cent of the local company was sold to a Trinidadian businessman, whom the company claims to be of Guyanese parentage.

The sale of majority shares of the local logistics company came just after Guyana’s Parliament enacted its updated local content rules, which aim to protect the interest of Guyanese and local companies in the growing local oil and gas industry.

The National Assembly passed the Local Content Bill (Bill no. 21 of 2021) with a few minor amendments in December 2021.

Minister of Natural Resources, Vickram Bharrat tabled the Bill on December 15, 2021.

He told the sitting that the Bill is a “living document” that will transform with the growth of Guyana’s human resource capacity.

“We want to ensure that with this Bill, Guyanese reap the benefits from the oil and gas sector. This bill will help us to truly assess our capacity, as well as what is needed to build capacity in Guyana. As a government, we are committed to working with every stakeholder, once there is seriousness in developing the oil and gas sector,” Minister Bharrat told the National Assembly.

Minister Bharrat reminded that the legislation will compel oil companies, their contractors and sub-contractors to do business with Guyanese. To see to this, the Bill outlines penalties for companies which fail to meet the minimum targets of the legislation, as well as those that are in breach. These fines range from as low as $5 million to as high as $50 million.

The Local Content Secretariat will continue to act in a professional manner and defend the people of Guyana consistent with the Local Content Act.

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