Dec 30, 2021 News
– provisions to increase civil society scrutiny, equal pay for Guyanese included
Kaieteur News – After seven hours of debate and contributions from 16 parliamentarians, the Local Content Bill 2021 was passed in the National Assembly.
Natural Resources Minister, Vickram Bharrat who tabled the Bill disclosed that 14 amendments were added, 10 of which were taken from the political opposition while the government added four of its own. With respect to the government’s Amendments, the first was an expansion of the definition for a “Guyanese company.” It previously stated: any company incorporated under the Companies Act which is beneficially owned by Guyanese nationals who ultimately exercise, individually or jointly, voting rights representing at least fifty-one per cent of the total issued shares of the company; and that has Guyanese nationals holding at least seventy-five percent of executive and senior management positions and at least ninety percent of non-managerial and other positions.
The government has added a section to state: any partnership between Guyanese nationals and a company constituted in accordance with the Partnership Act is also a “Guyanese company.”
With respect to the minimum level of local content targets, the government has amended the accounting services category from 20 to 90 % by December 2022 and insurance provision by Guyanese from 90 to 100 percent. Bharrat said this was done based on consultations with the private sector. He said too that the bill will prevent the creation of monopolies while catering for the provision of capacity building programmes so that Guyanese would be able to provide high quality services and skills.
The Minister said too that the Bill will also ensure Guyanese get equal payment or remuneration to that of expatriates once it is found that they both have similar qualifications and experience.
As for the amendments proposed by the political opposition, Bharrat said 14 were received on Tuesday but only a few were taken on board. In this regard, he said the opposition’s recommendation for there to be an oversight committee was accepted. He said the proposed Inter-Agency Committee will now be termed the Local Content Advisory Committee.
The Opposition’s suggestion for representatives from the National Toshaos Council, Guyana Bar Association, the Parliamentary Opposition; and from local Petroleum Organisations, has also been adopted. Other members of that committee will be taken from Office of the President, Ministry of Natural Resources, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Labour, Guyana National Bureau of Standards, Guyana Revenue Authority, Attorney General’s Chambers and Ministry of Legal Affairs, Guyana Office for Investment, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Ministry of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Public Works, Private Sector Commission, and the Labour Union.
Furthermore, the Bill has been altered to have the Local Content Advisory Committee select its own Vice Chairperson as opposed to the President. In fact, the Chairman would be appointed by the Head of State. Also taken on board was the Opposition’s recommendation for the Local Content Registers of qualified companies and nationals, published on the website of the Ministry responsible for petroleum or any other media of wide circulation.
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