Guyanese legislators have approved and additional GUY$3.4 billion in funding for the cash-strapped Guyana Sugar Company (GuySuCo), less that six months after the government succesfully provided more than GUY$6 billion in the national budget for the company.
Zulficar Mustapha, Guyana’s minister of agriculture, said he was confident that the fortunes of the sugar industry could be improved, as he defended the supplementary funding to GuySuCo.
Mustapha told the National Assembly that the additional capital would bring production cost down and that the Government would, using the new funds, continue its recapitalisation push at GuySuCo.
The government said that, of the additional GUY$3.4 billion, an estimated GUY$1.4 billion has been approved for additional resources to support the sugar industry with the remaining sum being used to cover operational expenses.
The funds will also be used for the reopening of the Rose Hall estate that Mustapha identified as a priority for the Irfaan Ali administration.
“Rose Hall estate will be reopened and that’s a commitment of this …government. As it stands today we have already reemployed 692 out of 1,038 persons and a number of works have already been carried out,” Mustapha told Parliament.
He said that, in preparation for the reopening of the sugar factory, lands have already been prepared for planting, while roads and bridges in the area have also been repaired. Additionally, drainage channels have been cleaned and excavated and other technical works are ongoing.
“We are on track to reopen this estate, as a matter of fact, many persons in this country would have realised and known that that area was made a ghost town, with the entire village economy in east Canjie – many persons had to leave the area and we are seeing once again a lot of economic activity in the area.”
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 have 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,” he added.
GuySuCo’s vice chairman, Anthony Vieira recently resigned from the corporation amidst internal issues between management and the board.