By Momodou Jawo
Stakeholders on Tuesday held a consultative workshop on local content for upstream petroleum operations in The Gambia at a local hotel in Senegambia.
The consultative workshop, according to officials has the objective of soliciting ideas from stakeholders on how to optimize the benefit of the sector to the populace and at the same time sensitize them on the opportunities arising from the operations in the petroleum sector.
Speaking at forum, the Minister of Petroleum and Energy Fafa Sanyang, spoke at length on the significance of the forum. The new Gambia, he added, was ushered in at a time when the state was faced with serious economic and financial challenges whose impact is affecting the development of the country on so many fronts.
“We believed that the petroleum sector has the potential to significantly contribute toward addressing these challenges and transform the Gambian economy in a big way,” he stated.
According to him, they have the legal framework obliging licensees to employ qualified Gambians and to use goods and services produced or made in The Gambia. “One of the government’s objectives is to ensure that The Gambia derived maximum benefit from petroleum exploitation activities. This can be achieved by ensuring that qualified Gambians are available for employment in all the various levels of the petroleum chain,” he noted.
Minister Sanyang added that, the government cannot however do this without the full participation of the private sector. He said the government cannot enforce local content requirements on IOCs when the needed human resources, expertise and goods and services required by OICs during the course of their operations are lacking.
The petroleum and energy minister explained that the outcome of this consultative workshop should assist the government to come up with local content policies or regulations to ensure that the IOCs engage the locals, procure materials locally, offer training and transfer the technology utilised during the subsistence of their license.
For his part, the chief executive officer of the Gambia Chamber of Commerce (GCCI) Alieu Secka dwelled on the significance of the forum. He said accordingly, they are encouraged to see how Gambia business and the public can benefit from the natural resources.