Gov’t turns down Exxon’s request for over 100 duty-free vehicles

Declaring that the government wants more for citizens from the offshore oil and gas deposits through existing and future contracts, Vice President, Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo on Thursday rejected accusations that U.S oil giant ExxonMobil is being granted unnecessary concessions by the State.

To make his point, the Vice President pointed out that a request from ExxonMobil to import a fleet of over 100 duty-free vehicles was refused by the People’s Progressive Party Civic government.

“We told them no, you are not eligible. We did not believe they were eligible,” Jagdeo said.

“A fleet of 4×4 vehicles,” he later clarified.

The Vice President explained that the government felt too that such a move would undermine the business guaranteed to locals.

Under the Local Content Act, passed in the National Assembly in December 2021, the government issued a schedule of 40 services for which Guyanese are to be contracted.

Under ‘ground transportation and the movement of personnel’, Guyanese are expected to provide 100 per cent of these services.

And currently, some 500 local drivers have been hired to provide services to the oil and gas companies, Jagdeo said.

There has also been the notable expansion of local longstanding transportation service providers.

“We put in law that they (the oil companies) can only rent from local people,” Jagdeo added.

Overall, the VP said the government continues to represent citizens’ best interest in its dealing with foreign companies but noted the importance of honouring contracts signed in the past.

“We said no to handouts in contracts when we were in opposition and now in government, we will stick to that,” he added.

Jagdeo said some of the people falsely criticizing the government have already proven themselves unfit to negotiate better contract terms.