GUYANA | Certain jobs must be reserved for Guyanese, Ali tells investors

A section of the SAIPEM fabrication yard on Water Street, Georgetown on the eastern bank of the Demerara River.

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, June 7, 2021 - Guyana’s President Irfaan Ali on Saturday threw down the gauntlet, and advised foreign companies wanting to invest in the country that certain jobs such as logistics, transportation  and similar services must be reserved for Guyanese.

Addressing the opening of SAIPEM’s onshore construction facility on Water Street, Georgetown, on Saturday, President Ali  acknowledged that while Guyana did not yet possess highly specialised workers with skill sets  for the oil sector,  the country was training persons for the sector, and eventually that would not be the case

Ali threatened to change  the local content policy if foreign companies continue coming to Guyana to offer services such as logistics, transportation similar services as those should be reserved for Guyanese.

“It will not go down well. Don’t second guess (me). I am telling you openly it will not go down well. Whether you are a subcontractor or not, it will not go down well. You’ll push us to change our policy, you’ll push us to change our policy,” he said.

President Ali pointed to logistic services as an example, which he said should “easily go to Guyanese” instead of foreigners that would most likely do the work themselves. He said an investor recently remarked that Guyana’s draft local content legislation “looks very tough”

“We would continue to acknowledge the fact that we don’t have the necessary technology at this point, the skillset at this point and the level of investment at this point but we must be clear on one thing. This point will always not be the point. It would have to change,” he said.

President of ExxonMobil Guyana, Alistair Routledge noted that, with SAIPEM’s operations here, it is a “good thing” that some of the competition has been brought from Trinidad and Tobago. He said to date more than 2,600 Guyanese and over 600 local suppliers are supporting the development of Guyana’s resources.

Mr. Routledge also used the opportunity to announce that from January to March, 2021 more than GYD$8.5 billion dollars have been spent with those suppliers.

SAIPEM currently employs 43 Guyanese including those working on the fabrication yard, logistics base and an offshore vessel.

President Ali praised SAIPEM for not only creating jobs but for the training that has been provided. “Fabrication is an important part of the future development of this industry,” he said. Apart from jobs, the President wants generational wealth to be created through about 1,000 entrepreneurs by using hydrocarbons as the springboard.

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