Reopening of sugar estates was not a political gimmick – Min. Mustapha

-$5billion assigned to GuySuCo

-closed estates to reopened, jobs to be created

-$18.4billion allocated to agriculture sector

The Guyana Sugar Corporation Inc. (GuySuCo) will be receiving $5billion from the Government’s new budgetary measures to rejuvenate the sugar industry, reopen the closed estates, and essentially, recreate employment.

His Excellency President Dr. Mohamed IrfaAn Ali

President of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, His Excellency, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, announced that his government will begin the process of reopening three of the four sugar estates that were closed by the previous APNU+AFC Coalition Government.

Enmore, Rose Hall, Skeldon and Wales complete the list of the closed sugar estates.

Closure of these sugar estates saw an increase in unemployment as it was the main source of income in the sugar-producing districts.

Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Zulfikar Mustapha, who recently appeared on the National Communications Network (NCN’s) ‘Insight’, noted that one of the major fulfillments of the PPP/C Government was to resuscitate village economy and create more jobs by reopening the closed sugar estates with the budgeted $5billion.

Agriculture Minister, Zulfikar Mustapha

“GuySuCo was the largest single employer of Guyanese, and over the last five years, we’ve seen a decline in that due to the actions of the APNU+AFC Government. When GuySuCo is affected, the entire nation is also affected,” Minister Mustapha stated.

The Agriculture Minister addressed statements made by the previous administration which suggested that the Government’s plan to reopen the closed sugar estates was a “political gimmick.”

“When we [PPP/C Government] said that one of our first plans will be to reopen the closed sugar estates, which formed part of our manifesto. While the previous administration said that this was a political gimmick, as the Minister of Agriculture, I am extremely pleased to say that money has already been budgeted for these estates, and the reopening will be a reality very shortly,” Minister Mustapha contested.

Meanwhile, farmers across the nation have welcomed the government’s announcement towards the sugar industry with open arms, as it will replenish opportunities and jobs lost under the previous administration.

Uitvlugt Leonora Estate Sugar Estate

Estate Manager attached to the Uitvlugt Leonora Estate, Yudhisthira Mana, believes strongly that the government’s budgetary measures for GuySuCo will profit the sugar industry.

“We would’ve seen capital and infrastructural investment very much restricted over the last four years. We would’ve seen bridges and access damns falling apart. The bars we used to transport the cane to the factory were torn apart with minimal replacement,” Mana explained. The Uitvlugt Estate Manager also appeared on the NCN programme.

He noted that in keeping up with the reforming world, oil and gas should be used to modernize and enhance the sugar industry.

During the reading of the 2020 Budget on September 09, Minister of Public Works, Hon. Bishop Juan Edghill, highlighted that GuySuCo will concentrate its efforts to ensure it achieves a break-even status in the short term.

“We will ensure better management by appointing a new, competent and skilled Board of Directors. We will ensure greater efficiency through the necessary re-tooling, product diversification and retraining where necessary,” Minister Edghill posited.

$18.4billion has been allocated to the overall agriculture sector to promote a diversified economy, while creating more jobs, increasing farmers’ income and ease the burden associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.