Dec 30, 2016 News
Minister of Agriculture, Noel Holder, during a Press Conference yesterday, said that the government has been receiving signals from parties interested in purchasing the Skeldon Estate and the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo).
The Minister made this revelation after he was quizzed by Kaieteur News about the Government’s plans for the Skeldon Sugar factory which attracted much public discourse after Technical Assessment revealed that the US$200M facility is falling apart.
The Minister could not commit to naming these interested parties since according to him; there was no formal approach from these interested parties.
“There have been some expression of interest about the Skeldon Estate and about GuySuCo…The Government has not taken a decision. There has been no formal approach. We’ve been hearing things through middle people and I wouldn’t want to get involved in hearsay.”
As it relates to the Skeldon Factory, the brainchild of the Main Parliamentary Opposition and the former Administration, the Peoples’ Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C), the Minister said that the way is yet to be paved.
He said that the government will be looking to discussions with the Opposition soon.
“(The Government) needs to enter into discussions with the PPP. GuySuCo doesn’t see a way to make Skeldon profitable so it’s one of those things that need much discussion,” the Minister said.
Holder’s revelation comes almost a year after the Commission of Inquiry (COI) set up to examine the sugar industry recommended that GuySuCo be privatized.
The CoI also recommended that privatisation of the corporation be done as early as is practicable, with an aim to complete the process in three years.
The report also urged that the State divest itself of all assets, activities and operations currently associated with GuySuCo.
“In the interval, as the privatisation process is awaited, the new management of GuySuCo must focus on basic essentials to rehabilitate the fields, factories and infrastructure of GuySuCo.
There should be no accommodation for new projects, which will create demands on the limited funds. This is aimed at making the estates more saleable and attractive to investors, both local and foreign,” the report recommended.
The Report also recommended that the Corporation immediately direct its attention and focus on reducing operational costs, especially that of employment.
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