NY Democracy Group Supports Guyana Local Content & NRF Legislation
The New York based Guyana Democracy Project (NY GDP) group releases a statement extolling the passage of legislation requiring local content in the emerging oil and gas energy sector and strengthening national resource fund (NRF). Noting that the preceding administration did not prepare a local content bill for the nascent energy industry, the NYGDP says such legislation to include Guyanese as the primary beneficiaries of the oil and gas sector is long overdue and applauds the government for taking bold, decisive steps to mandate inclusion of Guyanese in the industry. The release also notes that the NRF passed by the preceding administration had many loopholes that are subjected to abuse. The NYGDP salutes the government for these two important pieces of legislation closing loopholes and giving Guyanese greater economic opportunities in the oil and gas sector. It states: “The time for action on local content legislation and activating the NRF have long passed so as to ensure domestic economic participation and development and preventing abuse of the fund”.
NY GDP says that several countries that recently found oil and or gas have prepared local content laws on varied aspects of production and shore base support – on contracts, bidding practices, and materials used in the industry including supplies of food. Such legislation boosts local job creation and domestic private sector, facilitates technology transfer, and builds a competitive local workforce.
The organization says the local content legislation is consistent with the group’s mission to promote good governance, accountability, and democracy (consultation with a wide cross section of society) in Guyana. It claims that it studied the local content bill and reviewed comments from civil society, NGOs, and critics and has determined that the bill will meet its specific objectives: include Guyanese partners with foreign investors, create jobs, improve governance and accountability, and promote social and economic development, among other positive outcomes.
The NY GDP statement commends the government for accepting 10 of 14 amendments proposed by the opposition. It also praises the government for engaging with and accepting suggestions from the private sector and civil society.
The organization notes that no matter what bill is prepared, debated, amended, legislated, there will always be sections of the population not pleased with it. But it states: “The local content and NRF bills are a very good start. The local content legislation is a way forward for the oil and gas industry”.
On the NRF, the NY GDP says: “Essentially, the main features of the PNCR bill remain intact, except for the governance structure. Unlike in the previous bill, the Minister of Finance would not have sole authority over the fund. A governance Board of Directors will be set up to manage the fund. All funds will be placed in the Consolidated Account. The minister of finance could be jailed if he failed to make public the receipt and withdrawal of funds. And a formula is laid out for the allocation of oil revenues for budget support to promote development projects. These are laudable features”.
The NYGDP states that “both legislative acts are living documents that can be changed with time. And it is anticipated that the legislations will undergo change as the government and local investors develop capacity in the sector”.
The release adds: “Guyanese that NY GDP consulted with in the diaspora say they are pleased that bills addressing local content and NRF have been approved by parliament. They are pleased with provisions in the legislations. And as such, we join with other groups in Guyana in supporting the legislations. We call on all forces in Guyana, including the opposition, to support the legislation on local content and NRF that will benefit all Guyanese. We should put aside politics and back these pieces of legislation”.
Read More Articles From Dr. Vishnu Bisram
Please send your letters, articles, photos and short videos to this free online Indo-Caribbean paper: email@example.com