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Building, utilising local content imperative to moving sector forward

first_imgOil and gas sector…as GMSA members benefit from local business development courseSeveral high ranking Private Sector officials and members of the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association (GMSA) have benefited from an ongoing course and in-depth discussion on the role of local content in the development of Guyana’s emerging oil and gas sectors.GMSA President Shyam NoktaThe course was delivered by the Director of the Centre for Local Business Development (CLBD), Patrick Henry, and Senior Business Specialist Natasha Gaskin-Peters in the conference room of the Centre, which is located on South Road, Bourda.The main focus of the course was to give suppliers an understanding of the core concepts of local content while also exploring the common barriers to entering the oil and gas supply chain. It also saw participants benefiting from a presentation which highlighted a number of ways in which they could benefit from the limitless opportunities that would become available as a result of the emerging sectors.In brief remarks, GMSA President Shyam Nokta underscored the importance of the course and the need for industry and GMSA members to familiarise themselves with the changing dynamics that will take place in Guyana’s economy as a result of the oil exploration, development and production activities that will take place in the sector.He thanked all of the participants for demonstrating continued interest in the work of the Business Development Centre as he encouraged them to utilise all of the services it is currently offering businesses that are free.Meanwhile, Henry also welcomed the business representatives and GMSA members to the course which he said was only one step in securing a holistic and informed view of what really constitutes an effective local content policy.Henry said businesses should also strive to understand the concept of “value added” and the resources available locally to drive investments and maximise opportunities that will become available over the next few years.During a PowerPoint presentation which was delivered largely by Peters, participants heard some of the local barriers for suppliers who are seeking to benefit from the emerging oil and gas sectors and the concept of value added are insufficient knowledge of the industry development process and timelines, failure to meet industry standards, and non-compliance with health, safety and security and environment requirements. Other barriers included lack of proven experience and demonstrated track record, accessing new sources of finance for new capital investments and understanding how to do business using e-procurement systems with IOCs.The GMSA members and other officials were also made aware of the challenges related to local content. These include competitiveness, procurement and sourcing, business environment and the structure of the economy.The course facilitators also informed participants on the key to winning contracts which they said was related to how competitive their businesses and partnerships were when compared to others who were likely to provide the similar products.They were advised that in order to become more competitive, focus had to be placed on addressing issues related to capacity, cost and price, financial strength, market experience, quality standards, timelines, workforce skills, upstream capabilities, and safety record.During the three-hour event, GMSA members were also broken up into groups and asked to coin their own definitions of what Guyana’s local content policy should be before an open discussion was held on the significance of those definitions as well as the implications.last_img read more

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Blame game order of day

first_imgDallas, a trim 51-year-old who has been in the mortgage business for more than 25 years, said he disagreed, but complied. “If I can sell it at a profit,” he said, “why would I not do it?” A spokesman for Merrill Lynch denied Dallas’ assertions, but declined to elaborate. Mortgage companies like Ownit grew quickly last year by making it easier for homebuyers to take out loans without proving their incomes or making down payments. In retrospect, it was exactly the wrong time to ease credit: interest rates were rising and home prices were cresting after a sharp four-year rally. Many in the industry also suspected that speculation and fraud were rampant in many hot real estate markets on the coasts and in the Southwest. There is no doubt that the standards in the subprime market deteriorated sharply last year. More than 44 percent of all subprime loans in 2006 were based on limited documents or none at all, up from 38 percent in 2004, according to Lehman Brothers. More than 26 percent of borrowers took out a second mortgage, indicating that they did not have enough savings for a full down payment, up from 14 percent. But Tom Marano, who heads the mortgage business at Bear Stearns, disputed the contention that Wall Street pressure led to the loosening of credit standards. Investment banks, he said, do not directly make many loans. “If enough independent companies set standards, that becomes the market,” he said. “Wall Street’s role is largely one where we assess risk, we purchase loans.” Wall Street, however, is now wading more directly and deeply into the business. Big banks and hedge funds are buying up bankrupt or ailing mortgage companies that did not have enough capital to weather the downturn. These bigger financial players and more diversified lenders like Countrywide Financial may well inherit the subprime business. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AGOURA HILLS – Visitors to Ownit Mortgage Solutions’ offices here are met by an unmanned reception desk and three dying potted plants that appear to have gone months without water. How appropriate. Ownit filed for bankruptcy protection late last year; since then, several companies that specialized in loans to people with weak, or subprime, credit have followed it into bankruptcy as the once-thriving business has withered on the vine. Gone are the lavish parties and the extravagant trips and the executive salaries and sales commissions that routinely topped a million dollars. Lenders like New Century Financial and Ownit, many of them based in Southern California, have cut an estimated 12,000 mortgage jobs in the state since the start of 2006, according to MortgageDaily.com, a trade publication. Nationally, 16,000 jobs have been lost. What used to be a profitable partnership between subprime lenders and Wall Street banks has now degenerated into a cross-country blame game. Lenders in California say big investment banks encouraged and pushed them to make risky loans. On Wall Street, bank executives say mortgage lenders became sloppy and did not pay enough attention to fraud. Whatever the cause, Ownit provides a vivid example of what went wrong. William D. Dallas, the founder and chief executive of Ownit, acknowledges loosening lending standards but says he did so reluctantly and under pressure from his investors, particularly Merrill Lynch, which wanted more loans to package into lucrative securities. He recalls being asked to make more “stated income” loans, in which lenders do not verify the information provided by borrowers and brokers with tax returns, pay stubs or other documentation. The message, he said, was simple: You are leaving money on the table – do more of them. last_img read more