Local content policy will not dis-incentivise investment – VP Jagdeo
─ says Guyanese must share in prosperity
Vice President Dr Bharrat Jagdeo has assured investors that the local content policy framework being developed by the Government, is not geared at discouraging investments here.
Rather, it is a fulfilment of a promise made to the people of Guyana, by the Administration.
The Vice President was part of the first stakeholder consultation led by His Excellency Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, on Government’s draft Local Content Policy, at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre, today.
Dr. Jagdeo said the PPP/C had made a promise, particularly regarding the oil and gas sector, to have a Local Content Policy to guide the actions of those investing in the industry.
That, he said, begins with the sharing of prosperity, the overarching principle for the development of the industry.
“We cannot develop this sector where the bulk of the benefits redound to only the investors and Guyanese do not see any improvements in their lives or they cannot share that prosperity. The resources belong to them and they have a right to share this prosperity,” the Vice President said.
He said Guyanesehave to “feel this prosperity, they have to be trained in the sector, there has to be more spent on training of our people and building capacity, even the capacity to monitor the industry.”
Expanding on the shared prosperity, Dr Jagdeo said this will be realised especially through new Production Sharing Agreements (PSA), as the current agreements favour the oil companies.
“The Local Content Policy is not created to dis-incentivise investment but it’s a promise that we made to our people about shared prosperity and this has to happen. This policy will be bolstered … by the future evolution of the PSA.”
He believes the sector can produce enough remuneration for the investors, while also contributing to Guyana’s development.
Meanwhile, stakeholders said they were thankful for the timely initiative, which they said will guide them in their endeavours.
President of the Georgetown Chambers of Commerce, Mr. Nicholas Boyer, in responding to President Ali’s earlier address, said the policy framework was a step in the right direction.
“For us, we also welcome what you talk about Mr. President about the policy being something that is akin to national development and not just for oil. The policy you talk of today is for the oil sector, but this is something you are looking for nationally as well.”
President of ExxonMobil’s operation in Guyana Mr. Alistair Routledge said his company understands that local content is imperative, since it allows the people to benefit from the revenues from the resources and the build of sustainable capacity.
Since the establishment of the Centre for Local Business Development in 2017, the company has expanded its employment from 100 to 800 Guyanese at the end of 2020.
“While that is great progress, this is an important step in moving this forward. So, we really appreciate the process you have embarked upon. We need not only the oil and gas industry, but all the industrial sectors of the country,” Mr. Routledge said.
He committed his company’s continued participation in the implementation and evolution of all local content plans.