Whether it has to do with the cost of industry certification or issues with securing the right partnership, President of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), Nicholas Deygoo-Boyer asserts that local businesses are facing several challenges in their efforts to supply the oil industry with their goods and services.
The official made this assertion among others during a recent interview on Kaieteur Radio’s programme, “Guyana’s Oil and You” which focused on local content. The radio show also featured Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Ramps Logistics, Shaun Rampersad and Local Content Expert, Anthony Paul.
In sharing his perspective on the issues facing locals, Boyer said, “…Our businesses are not big enough to service the needs of the sector and when goods or services are provided, there are delays in payments…” In this regard, the GCCI President said that these delays put a strain on local businesses, since some or most of them are either self-financed or are backed by loans taken from banks.
“So you may have sold them this can of juice but they pay you 60 to 70 days later…That waiting time is painful for businesses that are debt financed or self financed,” the GCCI President added.
Further to this, Boyer acknowledged that Guyana’s business environment is now grappling with the rigourous standards that come with the oil industry. Deygoo-Boyer stated that while meeting these international standards is necessary, they are costly to implement.
The Chamber President said, “To be compliant is not that expensive, but to become ISO certified, you have to bring the auditor from Jamaica, pay airfare and hotel costs…So there are some barriers to entry. Overtime, as the economy grows, those barriers will reduce from tall mountains to hills…”
In addition to this, Boyer expressed the view that the industry could do more to utilize services within the GCCI membership.
He said, “…If I took an informal survey and asked how many of my members have contracts with oil companies whether directly or indirectly, the answer is probably a lower percentage than we would like it to be…”
The Chamber President acknowledged that indeed, ExxonMobil has funded a Centre for Local Business Development which is located on South Road. He noted however that there is still more that needs to be done.
Deygoo-Boyer said that at the end of the day, what is urgently needed is a local content policy. “We can’t rely on just luck to get where we want to go. We need a plan that looks at how we are going to get more Guyanese participation in the industry,” the GCCI President concluded.
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