DPI, GUYANA, Thursday, August 10, 2017
The Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) continues to have an operating deficient, recorded at $6.3B for the end of the first half of 2017. The $7B sum to GuySuCo by central government is a reflection of its continued inability to reform its cost structure and improve its competitiveness.
According to the Ministry of Finance mid-year report, the revised revenue forecast for 2017 is $27.1B, down from the budgeted $28.9B. The corporation expects to notice increased revenue from land sales, but lower revenue from sugar sales.
According to the report, expenditure is forecasted to rise to $35.7B, putting the deficit at $8.6B. However, the closing of Skeldon Energy Incorporated (SEI) during the first crop, weather, strike action, and factory maintenance downtime were some of the factors that contributed to the lowering of sugar production targets and revenues.
The sugar industry continues to be plagued by several problems, including an increase in the price of several inputs such as fertilizers among other issues. These issues have had a negative impact on the company’s ability to comprehend sufficient cash to cover its operating costs.
It was also stated that the sugar industry employs over 13,000 or over 75 percent of the total employment amongst the PUBLIC Enterprises(PEs), noting at mid-year, GuySuCo’s employment cost was an alarming 111.5 per cent of revenue.
The corporation highlighted that over the past six months the World Market price for sugar has significantly dropped with a range of US$ 250 – 275 per tonne, which is the price of US 12.66 cents per pound.
According to GuySuCo’s website, it supplies annually, 65,000 tonnes of bagged and packaged sugar to Caribbean and local markets. Another 12,000 tonnes of raw sugar is supplied to the North American market while the remainder, also raw sugar, is sold on the European market. The supply to Europe for the Second Crop 2017 will total some 70,000 tonnes.
With the closure of Wales Estate some workers were absorbed in Uitvlugt Estate, while private cane farmers at Wales were also encouraged to sell their crop to Utitvlugt Estate. It was highlighted that companies from India, and Trinidad and Tobago have been exploring the possibility of buying out operations at Skeldon.
GuySuCo’s public statement said that engagements will be held with stakeholders at Wales, Uitvlugt, Enmore, Albion, Rose Hall and Skeldon Estates among others. The focus of the meetings will be ‘The Role of Communities in Improving Attendance on Estates for the Second Crop 2017’.
The Corporation wants to mobilise cane harvesters, planters and cane transport operators, their families and communities around the importance of improving attendance at all estates in order to sustain the industry.
By: Neola Damon