Last Updated on Thursday, 21 September 2017, 19:38 by Denis Chabrol
The Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA) has been instructed to purchase land from the state-owned Guyana Sugar Corporation (Guysuco) to bail out that cash-strapped entity, government announced Thursday.
Minister of State, Joseph Harmon said Junior Finance Minister, Jaipaul Sharma was advised to proceed with the deal that would see Guysuco getting GYD$2B in exchange for a portion of land.
Chief Executive Officer of Guysuco, Errol Hanoman told Demerara Waves Online News that part of the GYD$2B was received Thursday, paving the way for wages to be paid on time again from Friday, September 22,2017. Last week’s wages were paid on Wednesday. “There is no doubt that the industry is facing a major cash crisis,” he said.
Some of the monies would also be used, Hanoman said, to finance operations, pay creditors, and procure equipment for Albion, Blairmont and Uitvlugt operations- all targeting an annual production of almost 150,000 tonnes.
Monthly employment costs- wages, salaries, social security and income tax-, he said is about GYD$600 million in the low season and GYD$1.8 to GYD$2 billion at the peak of production. The corporation employs 16,000 persons and plants about 100,000 acres.
Hanoman said the GYD$2 billion is CH&PA’s payment on account pending a valuation to be done of the lands stretching from Skeldon in East Berbice to West Demerara that Guysuco has identified for sale and Authority has said it requires for development. He said the “largest chunk of land” is located at Ogle, East Coast Demerara. Currently, the actual acreage, he said, is being finalised before the valuation starts.
“We have identified a certain amount of acreage that we would like to sell that would part finance the business over the next three years,” he said.
He explained that the land sale is part of a programme to eventually eliminate reliance on financial support from central government.
Guysuco’s major sales are 24,000 for local consumption, 32,000 for Caricom and 13,000 for the United States. The remainder is sold to Europe at virtually world market prices.