No Chinese warranty for ‘botched’ Skeldon Sugar Factory
….CEO says firm has no more obligations to GuySuCo
The Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) is yet to start making payments to the Guyana Government which in turn would make repayments to the Chinese, for the loans for the Skeldon Sugar Factory.
This was confirmed by the entity’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Paul Bhim, who was responding to queries about recourse available to the government from the Chinese Firm, in light of the numerous defects still plaguing the multi-million dollar edifice.
According to Bhim, there is no warranty for the factory and that the “defects notification period” has already expired a long time ago.
It was during this time that identified defects would have fallen under the responsibility of the Chinese Firm.
Bhim assures that all of the defects identified by the Chinese during that period would have been resolved by them and the new defects developed subsequently, hence the South African Engineering firm being paid to remedy the situation.
He reminded of Booker Tate which had been contracted to manage the factory and said it was that company that signed off on the works that were being undertaken at that time by the Chinese Contractor.
Bhim confirms that there are, at present, three Chinese Nationals still attached to the factory mainly in the capacity of training the local counterparts.
This tenure, he said, will come to an end next month.
This past week a South African Engineering Firm (Bosch) was wired by GuySuCo to help ensure that the Skeldon Sugar estate is fully operational.
Agriculture Minister, Dr Leslie Ramsammy, made the announcement that Bosch is being paid US$130,000 to design the modifications that are needed at the Skeldon plant.
The estate was commissioned at a cost of US$181M in August 2009, and was hailed as the boon to the survival of the sugar industry.
However, the factory has been plagued by numerous problems and has not been able to function as was intended.
The South African firm is looking to design the modifications of three main aspects of the factory, namely the bagasse plow (the feeder system, that leads to the boiler), the conveyor system and the condensate tank.
Dr Ramsammy said that the plan to fix most of the design flaws of the factory commenced this out of crop period and is expected to be completed by the first crop in 2013.
The factory was constructed with a combination of self-generated funds and loans from the Caribbean Development Bank, the People’s Republic of China and the Government of Guyana.
The Project Engineer was Booker Tate, UK Ltd and the Contractor was CNTIC Ltd. The Skeldon estate was designated to produce 110,000 tonnes of sugar per annum.
In 2010, production was 33,237 tonnes and in 2011, production was 29,410 tonnes.
According to Dr Ramsammy, attaining the full operation depends on the defects of the factory being fixed and addressing the field issues.
He said that the mechanization of the field operation now means that the weather conditions will have a greater impact on operation and this has been a major impact in 2011 and so far in 2012.