Following his assessment of the third draft of Guyana’s Local Content Policy, Attorney-at-Law, Charles Ramson Jr. emphatically stated that the document is not only “disturbing” but “grossly offensive” to the citizenry.
During an exclusive interview with this newspaper last night, the Oil and Gas Consultant said he was appalled to learn that the draft policy recommends no tax breaks for local suppliers, does not require foreign companies to be incorporated or registered here, and seeks to make the local content plans and reports of the foreign companies confidential.
With respect to tax breaks, Ramson reminded that based on the provisions of the Production Sharing Agreement (PSA) Guyana signed onto with ExxonMobil and its partners, all of its subcontractors as well as its affiliated companies and their subcontractors, would be given a tax free ride on imports. The same privilege however, is not stated in any contract, law or policy for locals. Considering this, the Petroleum Consultant stressed that foreign companies should not have any advantage over locals, while stating that the playing field must be leveled.
Further to this, Ramson bemoaned the fact that foreign companies are not mandated in the draft policy to register or be incorporated here before they are able to bid for contracts. “The lawyers and the accountants are the primary losers here,” added the Petroleum Consultant.
The 35-year-old also found it shocking that the draft policy would propose that the details of the local content reports and plans provided by the foreign companies to the Minister of Business has to remain confidential. The lawyer questioned, “What are they trying to hide? …” He insisted that the Department of Energy has to provide an explanation for this.
Another provision in the draft policy that Ramson took issue with, states that the local content plan of the operator can be considered approved if the respective Minister fails to respond to the submission within 21 days.
In this regard, Ramson said, “This type of affair does not happen in any law and it is highly unusual. Quite frankly, it is disturbing that it would be included in the policy to begin with. It makes me question whether the government even read the draft policy. And if they have, it is unbelievable and irresponsible for them to have it remain in the draft policy and be sent to stakeholders. This is just grossly offensive to Guyanese…”
Ramson stressed that the foregoing issues must be corrected if local companies are to benefit the most from the oil industry.
It was in February, last, that Director General of the Ministry of the Presidency, Joseph Harmon, had announced that British Oil Consultant, Dr. Michael Warner, was hired to complete the final draft of the policy. He was given the $22M contract for the said task even though he has no track record of independently producing a local content policy for a country.
Subsequent to that announcement, Kaieteur News had confirmed with former Business Minister, Dominic Gaskin, that this contract was never advertised.
Kaieteur News had also raised several questions about Dr. Warner’s connection to ExxonMobil, the firm that brought him to Guyana in the first place to train local businesses trying to access the supply chain.
Dr. Warner was actually a fixture at Exxon’s Centre for Local Business Development on South Road for this matter.
Feb 26, 2020Narayan Ramdhani (The Kings University) and Priyanna Ramdhani (Olds College) were both selected to represent the Province of Alberta at CCAA (Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association) national...
Editor’s Note, If your sent letter was not published and you felt its contents were valid and devoid of libel or personal attacks, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]