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Gov’t defends draft Local Content Policy 

The Ministry of Natural Resources is currently conducting widespread consultations on its draft Local Content Policy but it has come in for recent flak over the alleged plagiarising of the document from Ghana despite spending significant sums on consultants.

Defending the draft policy, the Ministry in a statement on Monday said “these targets are set from the current trend of development in Guyana and projects from similar economies that have set a path of local content benefits over various periods of time.”

Included in the document is a 10-year timeline for new products, services, and business development in Guyana. “Having realistic and pragmatic targets in place is crucial before any action is placed towards Guyana’s legislative framework. Essentially, these targets will serve as the schedule of the local content legislation, the Ministry added.

Further, the Ministry said the upstream oil and gas sector has a particular language that mirrors certain standardized characteristics and predefined roles that are common across the industry worldwide. Therefore, it believes it wise to not re-invent the wheel and further complicate the description of these services.

It said the Government worked with both international and local professionals in crafting the content of the policy and the establishment of realistic and realisable targets, over the different phases of development for the petroleum sector and sub-sector.

In an article published in Sunday’s edition of the Kaieteur News, it was pointed that the data in the policy document did not materialize from an independent gap analysis.

However, the Ministry said while it recognizes the importance of a gap analysis study, this is equally important as an extensive and broad-based consultation process with all relevant stakeholders which shares similar methodology and outcomes.

As such, it was noted that “in the interest of time and the urgency in having a robust local content policy in place…the Ministry has opted for the broad-based consultation process.”

Following  a change in administration in 2020, President Irfaan Ali appointed a Local Content Panel comprising of Guyana’s Advisor on Borders, Carl Greenidge; Trinidadian Expert, Anthony Paul; Businessman and Chairman of the panel, Shyam Nokta; Certified Fraud Examiner, Floyd Haynes; former Chairman of the Public Service Commission (PSC), Carvil Duncan; and TT’s former Energy Minister, Kevin Ramnarine. The panel in the latter part of 2020 produced a 35 page report which was submitted to the Ministry of Natural Resources.

According to the Ministry, the report stands as one of the principal pillars on which the new draft local content policy sits and was critical in shaping the newly revised policy.

All Guyanese are urged to join the consultations. The Draft Local Content Policy may be viewed at https://nre.gov.gy and comments can be sent to [email protected]