SPU believes divesting sugar makes more economic sense

DPI, GUYANA, Thursday, February 8, 2018

Minister of State, Joseph Harmon today said the intention of the Special Purposes Unit (SPU) established to examine the assets of the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) is to divest rather than diversify since in their view it makes more economic sense.

“In their view, it makes better sense to have these entities running while investors have an opportunity to look at them. The sense we got from looking at the expressions of interest was that the companies who want to come here wanted to keep these estates in sugarcane,” Minister Harmon told reporters today.

Minister of State Joseph Harmon.

The SPU is tasked with examining and articulating the way forward with respect to the divestment of the Skeldon, Rosehall, and East Demerara Estates.

Finance Minister, Winston Jordan in his 2018 National Budget presentation said with respect to the remaining estates, the SPU will also work to reconfigure operations to guarantee economic viability.

Minister noted that “our taxpayers must no longer be burdened to carry the weight of an unprofitable, inefficient, and antiquated public corporation. The government has allocated $6.3 billion, in 2018, to support the reduced operations of GuySuCo”.

The government has committed to upholding its duty to the communities and families in the areas affected by divestment, as part of the GuySuCo restructuring.

Skills re-training is being offered for the former sugar workers who choose to pursue new opportunities.

In addition, Minister Harmon disclosed that the discussions on the future of the sugar industry continued at the last meeting of the Cabinet on Tuesday.

The Cabinet was provided with an update by Minister of Agriculture, Noel Holder, who informed that severance payments commenced on January 29, 2018, and concluded as planned on January 31, 2018.

The payments, the Minister noted, were made efficiently and with no major incidents at the Skeldon, Rose Hall, Wales, and Enmore estates.

He said the outreaches conducted by Government, headed by Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo were well received by the sugar workers.  Concerns were noted by the ministers for future action to be taken by the Government.

 

By: Stacy Carmichael

 

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