As government gears up to conduct a review of the Local Content Act, it has set aside some $50M for the Local Content Secretariat, and part of that money will be used to facilitate consultation.
Minister of Natural Resources Vickram Bharrat made the disclosure today as the Committee of Supply considered the National Budget.
This is the first time that the secretariat, which was established in 2022, will be receiving a direct subvention from the Government.
“We would like to have an allocation formally assigned to the Local Content Secretariat so that much more can be done especially with our promised to review the Act in 2023 by way of holding consultation and also, in the Act itself, it says that the Local Content Secretariat is responsible for conducting sensitization [and] capacity development programmes across the country; we would like to start that in 2023,” the Natural Resources Minister explained.
The legislation creates special provisions for local companies and citizens to participate in 40 areas in the Oil and Gas Sector. Though the Local Content Secretariat has been working to develop the necessary institutional, administrative and monitoring framework to facilitate the implementation of the Act, it is perceived to be deficient.
Last November, acting Chief Justice Roxane George, while ordering the Local Content Secretariat to issue Ramps Logistics with a Local Content License, said that the legislation lacked the requisite regulations and guidelines necessary to guide the Secretariat in the issuance of Local Content Certificates.
The Attorney General Anil Nandlall in responding to the criticism, said the regulations were drafted and are under review.
Over 500 companies have so far registered under the current regulations.