Plans to set up Local Content Secretariat moving apace – Minister Bharrat

The landmark passage of the Local Content Bill 21 of 2021 has paved the way for the establishment of a Local Content Secretariat, which the PPP/C Government said will effectively monitor and oversee the local content framework.

Minister of Natural Resources, Vickram Bharrat, gM.P, said while the process to establish the administrative body is at the implementation stage, works are moving apace.

Minister of Natural Resources Vickram Bharrat M.P.

“We are putting together the register, the format, the guidelines and we are looking too, at staffing for the secretariat. We are looking at maybe in another week or two, we can actually start registering companies,” the minister said.

The register, Minister Bharrat asserted, will include Guyanese for employment and Guyanese nationals and companies from which goods and services may be procured.

There are 40 services laid out in the Bill which oil companies and sub-contractors must procure from Guyanese and companies locally.

Government’s intention is to allow local companies and citizens to apply for and be issued with a certificate of registration, which will be granted annually by the Secretariat.

The strategy ensures citizens benefit from economic growth and capacity building, among other noteworthy development opportunities.

Minister Bharrat said the secretariat will have a minimum of 10 staff members, given the magnitude of the work. It will consist of a director and other members, appointed by the subject minister.

“We must have minimum 10 persons to work in the secretariat, because as you realised it’s a lot of work, going through the plans and monitoring. We are looking at capacity development.

 It would require some technical staff to ensure the implementation is done in keeping with the legislation,” Minister Bharrat explained.

Accordingly, he said companies are currently preparing their masterplan in accordance with the four-month period stated in the legislation.

“There is a four-month period for them to do so. We would start monitoring within a six-month period and then those targets in the schedule are for December 2022,” the minister added.

The administrative office will develop and maintain measures for the effective implementation of local content by contractors, sub-contractors and licencees; develop and implement strategies that will give preference to or ensure equal treatment of citizens and Guyanese companies.

Further, the body will conduct market analysis; develop guidelines and formats for local content plans and reporting; procurement, training, among other prominent areas within the sector.