President Irfaan Ali yesterday announced that the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) is set to receive $5billion from the $330 billion Emergency Budget expected to be announced in Parliament on Wednesday.
Ali during a media briefing at the Arthur Chung Conference Center told the press, “The $5 billion will go into the agriculture aspect for field preparation. And also, for investment in capital…to operationalize the estates. Some of it will go to direct help for families who would have suffered.”
President Ali recently announced that the new People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) administration had begun the process of reopening three of the four sugar estates that were shut down by the previous A Partnership For National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) coalition government.
The last administration took the decision to shut the Rose Hall, Wales, Skeldon and Enmore sugar factories when they took office in 2015.
Sustaining the seven estates at the time was putting a major dent in the treasury, APNU+AFC had said, and later, those four estates were shut down and more than 7,000 workers were laid off.
The PPP/C vowed to resuscitate the sugar industry, providing hope for the thousands of workers who were left without jobs and struggled to maintain their families since the closures.
With President Ali’s announcement, that vow may soon become a reality but his plans were not met without concerns as many questioned how the new administration planned to transform the sugar industry into a profitable venture.
The remaining three estates at Albion, Blairmont and Uitvlugt, according to recent reports from the Guyana Agriculture Workers Union (GAWU), are heading for their worst production “in history”.
Giving context, GAWU said, the sugar company at the beginning of the year said it would produce 114,162 tonnes sugar – 46,475 tonnes in the first crop and 67,687 tonnes in the second crop.
Later, in a press statement, GuySuCo said it only managed to produce 37,015 tonnes sugar during the first crop, a deficit of 9,460 tonnes sugar.
With regards to the second crop, a revised target of 69,480 tonnes sugar was set but even this target may not be reachable as, according to estimates, GuySuCo would have a deficit of 24,393 tonnes of sugar.
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