Sep 23, 2020 News
– but refused to set targets while in office
The A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) coalition is now challenging the new People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) administration to set local content targets for the oil and gas sector, something it refused to do while in office.
The suggestion was made by AFC’s Member of Parliament (MP), David Patterson, during his budget address last Thursday.
Patterson, who is expected to serve the term as the Opposition’s shadow Oil Minister, noted that the Government has committed to training Guyanese to take up jobs and contracts in the oil sector.
“We say,” Patterson added, “that this local content mandate must have definitive numerical goals through legislation and in contracts. We propose a minimum of 50% of all sub-contracts must go to local businesses; and have a mentor/protégé programme to achieve this goal in three years to ensure the transfer of skills and knowledge.”
Patterson may have forgotten or is unaware of the fact that it was recommended that the Energy Department set local content targets while APNU+AFC held office.
Kaieteur News, for one, noted several provisions in the highly successful Ghanaian local content policy in its recommendations to the Energy Department. They were all absent from the policy.
Among these included several targets for oil companies and their sub-contractors to meet within a given period. The Ghanaian policy stated that its Annual Recruitment and Training programme needed to ensure that the following targets are met:
“(a) management staff, at least fifty percent of the management staff are Ghanaians from the start of petroleum activities of the licensee and the percentage shall increase to at least eighty percent within five years after the start of the petroleum activities;
(b) core technical staff, at least thirty percent of the technical staff are Ghanaians from the start of petroleum activities of the licensee and the percentage shall increase to at least eighty percent within five (5) years after the start of petroleum activities and ninety percent within ten (10) years; and
(c) Other staff, one hundred percent are Ghanaians. Such programme shall provide for the training of Ghanaians in all aspects and phases of petroleum activities and as many staff categories, including management, as is possible and shall be reassessed and revised on an annual basis (the “Annual Recruitment and Training Programme) and may include scholarships, industrial training for students and other financial support for education.”
Kaieteur News reported in July that the policy implemented by Ghana saw locals representing 86 percent of the sector’s workforce, among other outstanding achievements. This policy was informed by inputs made by industry experts like Trinidadian local content advisor and energy strategist, Anthony Paul.
Paul was involved in the makings of earlier drafts of Guyana’s local content policy, but was ultimately removed from the project by the former Government and replaced by an ExxonMobil affiliate, Dr. Michael Warner.
Though Kaieteur News shed light on Warner’s history with Exxon’s Centre for Local Business Development as a clear conflict of interest, APNU+AFC allowed Warner to remove several safeguards from Paul’s policy drafts. Warner’s policy also included confidentiality provisions which inhibit Guyana’s ability to fully scrutinize oil companies’ local content commitments. It is Warner’s policy which the former Government made final.
The new government does not accept the former’s policy, and has re-engaged Paul on a local content advisory Panel, to assist with the crafting of local content legislation.
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