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Guyana’s sugar production slumps again

Aerial view of the Skeldon Sugar Factory.

Sugar production by the ailing state-owned Guyana Sugar Corporation is expected to further decline this year, partly due to ongoing industrial unrest, Finance Minister, Winston Jordan announced.

Delivering the 2018 National Budget under the theme “The Journey To the Good Life Continues”, he said production of the sweetener is expected to fall to 152,000 tons, a 17.2 percent decline over last year’s output.

Jordan partly attributed  the latest slump to a loss of 22,000 man days as a result of  continued opposition to ongoing restructuring.

Government late last year closed the Wales Sugar Estate and announced plans to sell or scale back several other estates. with the aim of producing 174,000 tons annually.

A Special Purpose Unit of the National Industrial Commercial and Investments Limited (NICIL) has begun steps to hire an international accounting firm to conduct valuation of Guysuco’s assets before offering them for sale.

Meanwhile, the Finance Minister said  Guyana’s economy is projected to grow by 2.9 percent in 2017, down from a projected 3.8 percent.

He said that was partly due to a decline in mining, quarrying, sugar and forestry.

The Finance Minister remarked that Guyana’s economy was nevertheless still doing well- an average of 3 percent between 2015 and 2017- compared to most of its neighbours that are facing low, no or negative growth rates.