GMSA welcomes passage of Local Content and Natural Resource Fund Legislation

GMSA Head Rafeek Khan

See full statement from the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association:

The Guyana Manufacturing & Services Association (GMSA) commends the concerted efforts of the Government to finalize and pass the Local Content Policy (LCP) and the Natural Resource Funds (NRF) Bill.

These legislations are critical to having sound and effective management of the extractive sectors for Guyana’s economic growth and stability.

The Association therefore extends full support of the passage of the “Local Content Policy for the Development of Guyana’s Petroleum Economy” and the “Natural Resource Fund Bill 2021” legislations, with precedented anticipation that each Bill will provide avenues for the rapid progression of the manufacturing and services value chain.

As a key contributor to the LCP and the NRF Bill from the initial consultation stages, the GMSA attests that the Government’s inclusion of the private sector assured of its intention for transparency and governance in developing the framework which guides each Bill.

However, in consideration of the Government’s high priority agenda to pass the legislations, the Association acknowledges that these policies will be subject to emergent revisions and improvements.

As a major contributor to economic growth in Guyana, the GMSA calls for continued and more participative consultations with private sector support organizations.

Recommendations from each industry must be fully considered with timely feedback from the Government, to successfully develop and reinforce the regulatory strategies with respect to the LCP and NRF Bills.

This proactive collaboration will therefore guarantee improved capacity-building for private businesses and ensure public-private cooperation.

As Guyana moves into a new dispensation of growth, Sovereign Wealth Funds (SWF) will play an integral role in the stabilization and sustainability of the country’s economy and accelerate the national objectives for socio-economic progress.

In order to maximize the benefits of resource revenues, the GMSA lauds the Government’s recognition that these funds must have strict governance under the management of a Board comprising of a team of specialists with knowledge in international investments and markets.

We wish to reiterate that members must be adequately qualified and represent varied segments of the community.

Moreover, private-sector representation on the Board is of critical importance and the GMSA strongly encourages that this representative be meticulously evaluated prior to selection, to ensure the requisite experience, knowledge and expertise are met.

The Natural Resource Fund Bill will provide a mechanism to enable and accelerate the development and advancement of industries in Guyana.

The country will be positioned to transition from a predominant primary economy to enhanced manufacturing and services industries. For decades the major hindrances to growth and competitiveness in Guyana have been limited access to finance, inadequate and poor infrastructure, high energy costs, outdated technology, and shortage qualified skills. It is imperative that priority be given in these areas as we seek to strengthen and diversify the non-oil industries.

While the GMSA is cognizant that there is much to be done in terms of capacity building among local stakeholders, the Association believes that with the right strategies which include technology transfer and partnership between experienced companies and the local private sector, a sustainable and lucrative pathway can be achieved for Guyanese as we continue to collaborate for more inclusion in local content and natural resource benefits.