‘Big plan’ coming to ensure all Guyanese benefit from oil & gas – President Ali
President, Dr. Irfaan Ali
President, Dr. Irfaan Ali

PRESIDENT, Dr. Irfaan Ali, has reaffirmed his government’s commitment to working to ensure maximum local content opportunities in Guyana’s oil and gas sector, noting that every service in the oil and gas industry that can be provided by local citizens will be provided.

Speaking at a press conference at the National Track and Field Centre on Friday at Leonora, West Coast Demerara, the Head of State shared that the government is even working to rally financing to ensure that the private sector is able to capitalise on available and future opportunities.

“We are going to push to ensure that every service we can provide as a people will be provided. I am now working on a plan to go much larger, one in which…every single cent we can mobilise as a country to invest in a business opportunity in the oil and gas sector…to create an infrastructure that all those investors can invest and one in which even ordinary Guyanese will be able to invest so that they too can be part of the growth and development, not of this sector, but of all the opportunities around the sector. I will launch that very soon,” the Head of State explained.

Dr. Ali made the comments as he responded to questions about the move by US oil giant Exxon Mobil to acquire a fleet of Sports Utility Vehicles (SUV) through its local subsidiary Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited (EEPGL) duty free.

The President was asked if this was a move to overstep local businesses from providing vehicle services. However, the President explained that the transportation sector is in actuality experiencing a shortage of providers, and even the government is being affected by a scarcity of vehicles.

The President insisted that local transportation providers are not in fact being disenfranchised.

“I don’t think so at all. We have protection in local content for certain businesses. We have a lot of local persons who have invested in transportation services that are fully utilised. As a matter of fact, now in the government, we have a lot of delegations that are coming, foreign delegations, leaders, visitors, and we were placed in an embarrassing situation where we did not get the type of vehicle to rent because most of them were occupied in the oil and gas sector,” the President explained.

It was under Dr. Ali’s government that Guyana’s Local Content Act was passed into law, which paved the way to ensure that Guyanese gained equal opportunities and access in the oil and gas industry, and to ensure maximum benefits for Guyanese businesses.

The Act outlines 40 sub-sectors which would legally require oil companies to procure goods and services, as well as, employ specific percentages of Guyanese in their day-to-day operations. It also sets out what defines a local company.

And the government has maintained that the legislation would not be set in stone, noting that amendments can be made to guarantee increased employment and business opportunities for the people of Guyana as citizens train more and provide more services to the oil and gas sector.

Earlier last month, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall had reiterated the government’s commitment to updating the country’s local content laws to reflect the growing oil and gas industry.


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