Opposition stalling establishment of Local Content Committee – Min. Bharrat

Despite invitations sent for the submission of a nominee to be appointed on the Local Content Advisory Committee, to date, there has been no response from the former nor current opposition leaders.

This was revealed by of Natural Resources Minister, Vickram Bharrat, M.P., in response to an enquiry on the status of this committee by Opposition Member, David Patterson.

Minister of Natural Resources, Vickram Bharrat

In his written response, Minister Bharrat disclosed that while the Local Content Secretariat has been in operation since January this year, pursuant to Section Five of the Local Content Act No. 18 of 2021, the Local Content Advisory Committee is yet to be established.

In providing a reason for the delay in the formation of this committee, the notice reads, “The names of persons as proposed by their entities have been submitted and the Ministry of Natural Resources which has the oversight of the Local Content Secretariat is still awaiting the submission of the Nominee by the Leader of the Opposition.

The Ministry of Natural Resources has written the former Leader of the Opposition and the current Leader of The Opposition on January 07, 2022, and September 06, 2022 respectively. To date, no response was received. However, the work of the local content Secretariat continues in keeping with sections 5 (2) and (3) of the Local Content Act.”

Section Five of the Local Content Act stipulates that there should be the formation of a Local Content Secretariat, a unit within the Natural Resources Ministry, to promote inclusivity of Guyanese nationals and businesses in the burgeoning oil and gas industry.

The secretariat is responsible for monitoring, developing and maintaining measures for the effective implementation of local content by contractors, sub-contractors and licenses. The act stipulates that the secretariat makes assiduous efforts to ensure that Guyanese nationals and Guyanese companies benefit equally from returns of the oil and gas sector.

Additionally, the secretariat is tasked with devising and developing strategies for the development of local content plans, public education and awareness campaigns, and financial and insurance services.

The act also stipulates that a Local Content Advisory Committee shall be established, consisting of no less than seven appointed members. This committee will be tasked with providing support to the secretariat in carrying out its functions, as well as provide recommendations to the minister.

The act also stipulates that the advisory committee be comprised public and private sector representatives from various entities, including the parliamentary opposition, to assist with carrying out its functions in relation to the development of the petroleum sector.

The Local Content Act imposes the obligation on contractors, sub-contractors and licenses to seek out and include Guyanese nationals and businesses in their operations. This would promote sustainable development to the country’s local capacity. 

Guyanese stand to benefit from US$400 million to US$500 million annually in terms of revenue from the passing of this bill.