Government will never allow the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) to falter as the entity ensures employment and stimulates the economy.
This is the affirmation of Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha, M.P, in defence of the $6 billion allocated for GuySuCo in this year’s national budget.
Kicking off day two of the budget debate, Minister Mustapha criticised the opposition for alleging that the budgeted sum will be wasted as government seeks to revive the sugar corporation.
“… when we invest another $6 billion, we will create more jobs, tens of thousands of jobs, and we will help tens of thousands of families, and we will put into the village economy more cash and thousands of people are benefitting, not only the sugar workers, but people who live in the community and will depend on the sugar industry indirectly. So, we will continue to support all our industries in this country.”
The agriculture minister said no effort will be spared to protect and preserve the sugar industry, which directly supports 8,400 families currently.
He said “more than $10 billion” is fed into the local economy, which includes the maintenance of the drainage and irrigation sub-sector across farming areas.
Minister Mustapha noted that the $6 billion budgeted in 2022 for GuySuCo will be prudently used to revolutionise the field and factory operations.
The priority areas are:
- Mechanisation of Albion’s field operation
- Investment in new packaging plant at Albion
- Expansion of Blairmont Packaging Plant
- Critical rehabilitation of Uitvlugt Factory
In 2022, government also plans to rehabilitate the estate transportation routes that were damaged by the 2021 floods, accelerate the mechanisation in agricultural operations at Rose Hall and Albion and commence a feasibility study at Uitvlugt, to explore if ethanol could be commercially produced there.
Government also plans to ensure 64 per cent of sales of the sugar company will come from value-added packaged sugar.
This will be achieved when investments are made to expand the Blairmont packaging plant.
Government also plans to consider the possibility of engaging private investor interest in some of the estates.
From the moment the PPP/C returned to office, one of the first decisions made was to reopen sugar estates and reinstate sugar workers, who were placed on the breadline after being made redundant under the previous government.
Since then, some 1,328 persons have been re-employed at Rose Hall, Skeldon and Enmore.
The government has also pumped $13.8 billion into the sugar industry with another $6 billion to be given with the passage of the budget.