Local Content Policy must be set in national development framework – President Ali
-as stakeholder consultation on draft local content policy opens
The Government’s Local Content Policy extends beyond the oil and gas industry, covering all sectors contributing to the country’s economic development.
This was conveyed by His Excellency Dr. Mohammed Irfaan Ali today, during the first stakeholder consultation on the draft Local Content Policy at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre.
Prime Minister Hon. Brigadier (ret’d) Mark Phillips, Vice President, Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo and Minister of Natural Resources, Hon. Vickram Bharrat also attended the event, which saw participation from other Government and private sector officials, including representatives from some international oil companies.
The President told the summit that the policy framework must reach beyond Guyana’s new-found resource.
“While the oil and gas sector would be one that will be critically targeted in the strategy, the local content strategy is an overarching strategy that will cover every single sector of our development as a country,” the President said.
The policy has among its focus the insurance and banking sectors, increasing manufacturing capacity, human resource transformation, and training and development. President Ali also said the policy is not just about business and increasing the level of business coming to companies, but building the capacity of local companies and preparing them to become internationally competitive.
The President said the Government wants investors coming into Guyana to understand that they must commit to local content, through legislation, regulation, and institutions. He said the Government will work with them in this regard. He added that as Guyana continues to grow and the economy evolves, the policy has to evolve.
“The Local Content Policy has to be a living policy, it has to be a policy that is flexible, a policy that is responsive, a policy that has great clarity, a policy that sets the framework through which all those who engage, not only in the oil and gas sector, but the forward and backward linkages of the oil and gas sector, all would understand fully what are their responsibilities to local content.”
The Government will continue to honour its responsibilities of building an enabling macro-economic environment, improving the ease of doing business and the efficiency of Government institutions, improving legislations to meet future demands of the economy and building institutional capacity.
Dr. Ali added that the local content policy would be different because it goes beyond the identification of opportunities.
“It speaks of the mechanisms to get to those opportunities. It speaks of the private sector and the Government, of the operator, about the opportunities and building the capacity to get those opportunities.”
The President said systems would be put in place to bridge the gaps in levels of capital, human resource capacity, and technology and create a space for local businesses and local participation.
“We are willing to make those investments in our human capital to allow those opportunities.”
The goal of the local content policy is to maximise the level, quality and benefits of participation in the petroleum sector chain by Guyanese.
The stakeholder consultation is expected to continue over the next month.