Dec 30, 2015 News
Sets 240,000-tonne target for 2016 – Chairman
Given the impressive production achievements of the sugar industry, Chairman of the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) , Dr. Clive Thomas, is hoping to raise the bar a little higher for 2016.
Yesterday, the economist said that GuySuCo is hoping to increase its production target by five percent over the 2015 figure. Last week, GuySuCo achieved 231,145 tonnes. This was 3,702 more than its projected target of 227,443.
The Chairman said, “I am really happy about this. I am not here for more than six months and this has happened but I could not have done it without the effort that was put in by all. It is proof that the removal of political interference has tremendous benefits. I know that we can do better than this come next year.”
The long awaited report on the Commission of Inquiry into the sugar industry is also expected to be laid in the National Assembly today.
Dr. Thomas said that while the recommendations for the industry are “extreme”, he cautioned that those working in the sector should not be worried for one bit whether the sector would be closing shop.
“Indeed the changes that are coming will be radical but it is necessary because you cannot expect to be doing the same thing every year and getting different results. But we aren’t closing shop. We are concerned about the survival of this industry but more importantly bringing it to good health. We are trying to move towards value added products coming out of the sugar assets…we are trying to use the assets of the industry in a more creative way.”
Dr. Thomas said that he is working towards recovering Skeldon’s co-generation plant which was sold to Skeldon Energy Inc. (SEI).
He said that the former CEO of GuySuCo, Rajendra Singh sold the company’s generation facilities to Skeldon Energy Inc—a Special Purpose Company jointly owned by the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) and the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL), for US$30m, only to have it buy back power to run the factory.
To date the sugar company has also only been paid US$19M of the agreed US$30M and SEI has since indicated that it could revise the outstanding US$11M amount.
Dr. Thomas told Kaieteur News that it is imperative that the plant be recovered as it is a major supplier of power and basically the lifeline of the factory.
“It is such a major producer of power that it supplies 90, 000 households in Berbice. We are in discussions with having that sale being reversed from being the property of GPL. It is an important pillar for GuySuCo. We are hoping to get it for next year. We want to be able to sell GPL power. We are getting ripped off with the plant being in the possession of another company.”
The GuySuCo Chairman explained that high on the entity’s list of priorities is moving towards the diversification of the sugar industry especially as it regards refined sugar.
He noted that GuySuCo is still working to achieve a breakthrough with a new upgraded sugar called, “Enmore Crystals.”
“This product will help to give us some leverage to sell our sugar for more. This packaged sugar is only being done in small quantities for the markets in Canada, USA and Britain.”
The GuySuCo Chairman said that the Board and Management believe that the packaged sugar will do better than “the ordinary sugar sold in the transparent plastic bag.” He noted that samples are already being taken to the three markets he outlined, among other places where contacts are made.
Dr. Thomas said, “We are trying to penetrate the market with small quantities and build up as time goes. We are basically doing this to see how we can get a higher price for our sugar. And so far, it has been receiving favourable reviews from our international contacts, so we are looking to see how this works out but there are other plans in the pipeline for the diversification of this product and bringing the industry back to good health.”
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