Green light for additional funding for Guysuco sugar company
Less than six months after lawmakers approved a GUY$6-billion allocation for the Guyana Sugar Corporation, also known as Guysuco, the Ali administration approached lawmakers again for another GUY$3.4 billion for the cash-strapped sugar company.
The additional funds were approved on Monday.
Agriculture Minister Zulficar Mustapha said he was confident that the fortunes of the sugar industry could be improved, as he defended the supplementary funding to Guysuco.
He told the National Assembly that the additional capital can ultimately bring production costs down and that the government led by President Irfaan Ali would continue its push to recapitalise Guysuco.
An estimated GUY$1.4 billion of the additional funds would be utilised to support the sugar industry, while the rest would cover the sugar company’s operational expenses, including the reopening of the Rose Hall estate that Mustapha described as a priority for the government.
“Rose Hall estate will be reopened and that’s a commitment of this government. As it stands today we have already re-employed 692 out of 1,038 persons and a number of works have already been carried out,” he told Parliament.
The new funding for Guysuco comes even as President Ali said he will be holding discussions this week with officials of the financially strapped sugar company in an effort to quell internal problems that has already led to the resignation of one director.
“My focus is on ensuring that we work to revive Guysuco, making it viable, making it economically and financially feasible and that is why I say it is not only about financial feasibility, it is about economic feasibility, how it is integrated in the entire community, so that is the focus,” Ali told reporters.
“There seems to be a strained relationship between some board members and the management. The management has a position, the directors have a position. I intend to bring the parties together in the week and to have a conversation,” the president added.
Guysuco Vice Chairman Anthony Vieira recently resigned from the corporation amid internal wranglings between management and the board.
Since coming to office over two years ago, the Ali government has made significant investments in the sugar industry and has been working towards the reopening of several sugar estates that had been closed down in recent years.
Last year, the government made a payment of GUY$250,000 to sugar workers who were laid off the previous year.