Prison time, heavy fines essential for Local Content defaulters
… Legislation must apply across the extractive industries sector – Tucker
Kaieteur News – Georgetown Chambers of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) President, Timothy Tucker, recently called on the managing administration to implement not only a Local Content Policy but robust legislation, to punish defective companies – legislation to be applied to across the extractive industries. .
This could be done in a phased manner, as priority should be given to the emerging Oil and Gas sector.
Tucker gave his views as the new GCCI President on Wednesday, during a GlobeSpan 24X7 discussion, on ‘Guyana’s Local Content and Business Development’ – moderated by Richard Rambarran.
The newly elected GCCI president – who was elected last Saturday – said in discussion with the moderator that there must be consequences for when players do not adhere to local content guidelines and are used as an example, “companies that n trying to hoodwink the nation by getting rent and a citizen type scenario ”.
He also noted that difficult cases need to be in place for cases where companies absolutely refuse to abide by local policy, and said that such scenarios must have repercussions.
Legislation, he repeated, incorporated penalties, “jail time, heavy fines and things like that.”
According to Tucker, it cannot be a situation like in neighboring Trinidad and Tobago (T&T), which in 2004 made local content provisions only available to its citizens.
He reminded that country, although more developed than many of its Caribbean counterparts, would have been producing oil for over a century, and as such would have waited some time before trying to get its citizens to maximize the benefits of its industry.
The GCCI President was adamant, “local content is vital to the development of the country,” and positively, a country cannot be developed “without the use of the local businesses, the skilled local personnel, the local people, it’s impossible.”
He suggested that without local content protections in place, it would simply be a place as a country, “you would just rent a piece of land” to remain in an undeveloped state, when the benefits of the oil and other extractive industries pack up. up and leave.
He noted that the infrastructure put in place can only be temporary and portable and as such, local content laws would ensure that whatever resources are available for the country to collect, are used to develop the country is holistic.
According to Tucker, this includes, as local content is not just about one field but it has to affect Guyanese lives, from the grocery store to the electricity produced in the country .
“It’s not just one thing, it’s a series of events, not just developing your people but building a nation, building a country.”
The new GCCI President reiterated that local content “is the backbone of this nation’s development.”
Emphasizing the private sector body’s call for legislation in action, Tucker said that it cannot be a situation in Guyana where, like many other countries, the people suffer after the largely abstracted resource interests, then packing and leave.
He can’t be a “straw in a glass story” where everything is sucked out of the country and nothing is put back in, he said.
Seeking to underline the need to ensure that citizens can maximize the benefits of its oil and gas resources, the GCCI President reminded that Guyana has been reclassified as a upper middle-income country.
He reminded this status that much of the donor funding that the country had relied on in the past would no longer be available.
As such, he noted that local content will have to take into account government spending on oil revenues and that “Guyanese must benefit from all spending.”
Kaieteur News reported last month that citizens in Ghana have numerous opportunities to reap the maximum benefits from their oil resources, thanks to a series of robust guidelines, policies and regulations that protect their interest.
The legislative framework ensures, for example, that no foreigner wishing to set up shop and bid for contracts can do so unless partnering with local people.
Furthermore, for those who are even considering putting in place plans to defraud the system, Ghana had clearly broken fines and jail time set aside for such actions.
The Local Content Regulations of that African nation-state, for example, “A citizen acting as a frontman or contacting a foreign citizen or company to defraud the Commission as representing a native Ghanaian company to deliver ‘ The local content requirement under these Regulations, commits. is a criminal offense and liable on summary conviction to a fine of not less than one hundred thousand penalty units and not more than two hundred and fifty thousand punitive units or to a term of imprisonment of not less than one year and not more than two years or to both. ”
It also states, “A person who contacts a Ghanaian citizen or indigenous company to deceive the Commission as representing a native Ghanaian company to fulfill the local content requirement under these Regulations commits an offense and liable on summary conviction to a fine of not less than one hundred thousand penalty units and not more than two hundred and fifty thousand punitive units or to a term of imprisonment of not less than one year and not more than two years or both . ”
It is also useful to note that anyone who knowingly submits false documents and makes false statements to the Ghana Commission as well as confronting a foreign person or company would have to give the impression that local content is being delivered, face the proverbial. music.
The Ghana regulations in this regard specifically state, “A person who submits a plan, returns, reports or other document and knowingly makes a false statement, commits an offense and is liable on summary conviction to a fine not less than one hundred thousand penalty units and not more than two hundred and fifty thousand penalty units or to a term of imprisonment of not less than two years and not more than five years or both. ”