The Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry has expressed disapproval on a recent attempt by Exxon to bundle contracts between Guyana and Trinidad, noting that it creates an unfair situation for Guyanese companies and exploits clauses in the local content legislation meant top benefit Guyanese.
ExxonMobil subsidiary, Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited (EEPGL) recently indicated plans to put in place an agreement to enable the provision of customs brokerage services for activities such as importation and exportation of materials, equipment and supplies to support operations in Guyana and/or Trinidad.
President of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) Timothy Tucker believe this exploits spaces provided exclusively for Guyanese within the local content legislation.
“They’re looking for a customs broker and clearance house to clear goods in Guyana and Trinidad. How? When the laws of Guyana say that a customs broker must be Guyanese, must be registered in Guyana. In the list of 40 areas in the local content legislation (areas specified for Guyanese) says customs brokerage.”
Tucker highlighted that these customs brokerage indicate the unbundling of Exxon’s controversial logistics contract.
While Tucker praised the unbundling of the logistics contract, he expressed concerns in this recent attempt at bundling contracts.
“You’re now moving it away from companies that operate only in Trinidad or only in Guyana and you’re making that contract suitable only for a multi-national company. That is unfair. It should be open because it is something listed in the areas carved out for locals.”
Contract bundling is the consolidation of the procurement of various goods and services under one contract.
This is an issue that has plagued Guyana’s petroleum sector and drew complaints from the GCCI on multiple occasions this year.
He says the guidelines Exxon are looking to introduce will only benefit a select few multinational companies.
“I find that some of the areas are very suspect. It brings into question, the procurement and local content arms of Exxon. Where is their local content department? How are they not looking at the local content law and ensuring that their procurement department adheres to the local content law.”