by Derwayne Wills
Government has allocated $9B to assist the Guyana Sugar Corporation although more monies would be needed by the ailing public corporation.
“The status quo of the sugar industry can neither be sustained nor maintained,” Finance Minister told the National Assembly during his budget speech.
“As currently structured, the industry would require Government’s support to the tune of $18.6 billion and $21.4 billion for the years 2017 and 2018, respectively,” Jordan said in his speech.
The Minister called this “an untenable position” adding that it is “one that would seriously jeopardise the fiscal stance of the Government, while compromising resource allocation to other critical and important areas.”
“The stark reality of the situation is that money injected into sugar, in its current state, is money wasted,” Jordan said to the sounds of disagreement coming from the opposition benches. “It would make no impact on the operating losses and cash deficit status of the industry.”
The finance minister called for a “radical re-organising of the sugar industry” which, he said, is a matter requiring urgency.
“The continued postponement of the hard decisions on GuySuCo’s future would result in the corporation incurring even more debts,” Jordan continued adding that these could amount to some $80B.
Jordan lamented the burden of such a request on the Treasury. “Recognising this grave situation, a Cabinet Sub-Committee has been established, tasked with making definitive recommendations for implementation by the end of 2016.”
Jordan said the Committee has been examining all options and will make a full report to Cabinet soon. The $9B plugged into Guysuco for 2017 brings total bailout to $32B since August 2015 when this government’s first budget was presented.