Local content a priority for new PPP/C Gov’t
DPI, Guyana, Sunday, August 16, 2020
The involvement of Guyanese in the Oil and Gas Sector is a top priority for the new People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) Government.
During a media engagement on Friday last, Vice President of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana, Hon. Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo, noted that while they will not hinder the work of US oil giant ExxonMobil, emphasis must be placed on local content generation.
“We have made it clear in the meetings with Exxonmobil that we want them to do well, but Guyanese must share this prosperity. It is not sustainable otherwise, and we will insist that happens,” he said, adding that Guyanese should have access to opportunities and employment within the sector.
This, Dr. Jagdeo said, will be the “guiding philosophy” with all engagements with the oil company.
“There are several areas we have identified that have serious shortcomings which, in the near term or medium term, can bring enormous benefits to our people, and ExxonMobil has to treat these areas seriously,” the Vice President told media operatives.
Dr. Jagdeo also made known his displeasure with the wages being paid by ExxonMobil’s sub-contractors. When compared to that of the foreign employees, Dr. Jagdeo described it as ‘inequitable’. This is a matter the new PPP/C Government will address, he assured, so local workers in the petroleum industry can earn a comparable wage for comparable skill.
Guyana officially became an oil-producing nation in December 2019, but had no proper policy or legislative in place to guide local content development. The Local Content Policy was completed by the former APNU+AFC Coalition Administration, in February 2020, and is yet to be laid in the National Assembly.
Dr. Jagdeo noted that the PPP/C government intends to have legislation on local content “which will be mandatory for companies to comply with”.
He further disclosed that the best technical input will be sought out before a negotiation brief is prepared and cleared at the policy level; before engagements are held with ExxonMobil.
Engagements with Guyanese across all sectors will also be done at the Presidential level.
“The President will meet with the entire Guyanese community through a series of meetings to listen to them on their views on local content,” the Vice President stated.