US Ambassador cautions local content policy concerns may scare away investors

Last Updated on Sunday, 1 September 2019, 9:34 by Writer

United States Ambassador to Guyana, Sarah-Ann Lynch. In the background is AMCHAM-G President, Zulfikar Ally.

Co-Chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce- Guyana (AMCHAM-G), American Ambassador to Guyana Sarah-Ann Lynch on Saturday cautioned that recent concerns about local content could erode Guyana as an attractive investment destination.

“For example, some recent suggestions about local content policy in Guyana may send a signal that some investors as well as the employment and know-how benefits they bring may not be welcome here,” she said at AMCHAM-G’s first annual general meeting.

Lynch said the US’ goal is to strengthen investment and trade relations with Guyana for shared prosperity. Among the benefits, she listed, that investors would bring are capital, employment, and international standards that Guyanese companies need to become internationally competitive.

The American envoy highlighted that auditing requirements for sub-contractors is “good” for Guyana’s businesses, in addition to other areas such as inventory management, International Standards Organisation (ISO) standards, and logistics planning.

AMCHAM-G currently has 61 members and expects that figure to soar to more than 200 by next year August.

Recently, a forum on local content that was organised by the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) flagged concerns about the sidelining of local companies in favour of several foreign counterparts from neighbouring Trinidad and Tobago.

But those and other sentiments that sought to push the need for Guyanese to merely get a bigger share of contracts and jobs did not go down well with the American Ambassador. “At a time of increasing integration, especially in a globalised energy sector, focussing on who owns a firm could be counter-productive. Rather, the emphasis should be on whether the firms – be they local, be they international – are following international best practices on critical matters such as financial transparency, environmental protection and otherwise acting in a manner that contributes directly to Guyana’s overall sustainable prosperity,” she said.

The US Ambassador appealed to Guyana to look at “all” local and international investors as “partners in growing the economy, not as adversaries”.