-$100M earmarked for small loans
In a message to the National Assembly , President David Granger on Wednesday afternoon said that the government has committed an expenditure of over $2B for redundant sugar workers , monies which will be paid before the end of January 2018.
This represents 50% in severance to the workers. In his message,the President noted that the remaining 50% will be paid to the sugar workers in the second half of 2018.
In addition , the Head of State said that the APNU+AFC government has earmarked $100M to provide small loans for entrepreneurial activities which could open opportunities for employment after leaving the sugar industry.
The President said that the government cannot sustain the sugar industry in its current state. “It has had to make difficult choices in order to ensure the industry’s viability,” he said.
He said that the government is committed to the welfare of sugar workers and their families. He noted that the government has embarked on an extensive review of expenditure in every sector to the extent of reducing ministerial budgets in order to find funds to enable sugar workers to receive their severance pay.
President Granger noted that the government will continue to engage all stakeholders , including the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuco) , the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) and the National Association of Agricultural , Commercial and Industrial Employees (NAACIE) on the sugar industry.