Indigenous leaders urged to capitalise on local content opportunities

There are numerous areas indigenous Guyanese could venture into which will enable them to access opportunities from the booming oil and gas sector.

Among those areas are food supply, catering, ground transportation, security services, accommodation, janitorial, local insurance and laundry services, and these could increase as the need arises, Minister of Natural Resources Vickram Bharat said.

Minister of Natural Resources Vickram Bharat Engaging indigenous leaders at the ongoing National Toshaos Conference (NTC) at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre (ACCC).

Engaging indigenous leaders at the ongoing National Toshaos Conference (NTC) at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre (ACCC) on Tuesday, Minister Bharrat laid out how Guyana’s Local Content Legislation could help indigenous Guyanese.

Guyana’s Local Content Act 2021, passed in December 2021, ensures Guyanese are given equal opportunities and access in the oil and gas industry, and local businesses, maximum benefits. The legislation outlines 40 services that investors must procure from Guyanese businesses in order to operate in the local oil and gas sector.

“We can change the local content schedule at any point in time. Once we develop our skills and our abilities and our capacity, we can change the schedule in that local content legislation. If it is 40 now, we can add another 40 next year. If welding and fabrication is 20 per cent now, we can change it to 50 percent, we can do that,” Minister Bharrat said.

A village leader raises a point at the National Toshaos Conference (NTC) on Tuesday.

He said government is pushing to build the capacity of its people. By the end of this year, the Guyana Technical Training College will be opened at Port Mourant, Region Six.

To date, more than 4,000 Guyanese are already working in the oil and gas sector. Minister Vickram said government wants to increase the numbers, and understands that training is a big part of that drive.

“It is a facility that can accommodate students, meaning it has dormitory facilities where students can live in and they can study. What leaders should do, is that as soon as we put out the notice for applicants for people to apply, that you can try to get people from your villages to apply, and to be part of that training exercise at the Port Mourant training centre.”

The more than 200 village leaders were encouraged to make the most of the opportunities presented.

“We have a golden opportunity right now as a country… Guyana can become one of the richest countries in the world per capita, because our population is small, and because of the resources that we have, but we as the people, we have to make use of the opportunity. The oil and gas sector will only grow, and the more it grows, the more people you need to work and with the local content legislation, companies would have to hire Guyanese people.”

Government intends to train thousands of Guyanese at every level to create a national workforce to chart the future direction and effectively manage the sector.

The NTC which was absent for two years due to COVID-19, is being held under the theme ‘Good Governance and Fast-tracking Amerindian Development.’