Mar 05, 2021 News
Kaieteur News – Upon examining the varying layers for regulation and implantation proposed in Guyana’s draft Local Content Policy, Co-Director of Energy Practice at Americas Market Intelligence (AMI), Arthur Deakin, is of the firm conviction that opportunities for political interference could certainly arise.
The analyst made this comment, among others, during his latest appearance on Kaieteur Radio’s Programme, ‘Guyana’s Oil and You.’ There, Deakin reminded that the draft policy notes that once the Petroleum Commission comes on-stream it would be tasked with implementing the document and its relevant regulations. It would be doing so through a dedicated Local Content Secretariat. That body however would be overseen by an Inter-Agency Coordinating Committee, which would be made up of senior officials of the various government ministries and agencies that would be charged by the respective Minister to oversee the implementation of the Local Content Policy. The Committee would have several functions, which include reviewing and supporting the work of the Local Content Unit, removing administrative barriers to local participation in the sector, and managing development and periodic review of this local content policy.
What is interesting too is that a “Multi Stakeholder Working Group on Local Content” will be set up involving representatives of key stakeholders’ groups, including the major Operators, international services companies, local private sector including the financial sector, education and training institutions, non-governmental organizations, labour and civil society. But that Working Group would only be able to “advise” the Inter-Agency Coordinating Committee and support collaboration and coordination between stakeholder groups and allow for early action on critical items required for operationalizing of this Local Content Policy. Here again, the government would ultimately have control as it would be the chair of this body.
With the foregoing in mind, Deakin asserted, “Yes, this arrangement could breed opportunities for political coercion. It is a positive sign to have several checks and balances and we have seen that work in other countries but…it is still connected to government. So you can have all these bodies but if they are all filled with friends of the president then it is not going to be very effective.”
Deakin stressed that for local content regulation to be efficient, it must be done by an independent body. The analyst added that the regulator or anyone part of that group should have no connection to the government.
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