THE Ministry of Agriculture on Monday secured some $1.5 billion in supplementary funds from the National Assembly to offset critical capital works at the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo). Government’s financial investment in GuySuCo now stands at $10.5 billion since the administration took office on August 2, 2020.
Agriculture Minister, Zulfikar Mustapha, said the money will be injected in the sugar company, in keeping with the government’s plans to revitalise the industry.
“We are continuing to restructure GuySuCo. There are critical parts on the present estates that need to be rehabilitated and recapitalised and also to reopen the closed sugar estate. We have to get tools to go back and do new planting, we have to do tillage; it’s a whole lot of activities,” he told the National Assembly.
To ensure the continued development of agriculture and support services at six sugar factories, Minister Mustapha said some $40 million will be pumped into the Skeldon and Enmore estates, respectively. Another $292 million will advance works at the Rose Hall estate and rehabilitation will continue at the Albion Estate to the tune of $718 million. The Blairmont and Uitvlugt factories will also receive $149 million and $259 million, respectively.
Some of the items listed to be procured to enhance the restructuring process are horse power tillage tractors, crusher run, harrow ploughs, cane punts, long reach excavators, paddle tug and drainage tubes. Minister Mustapha also noted that the money provided through previous budgetary allocations is almost exhausted, and the restructuring operations at GuySuCo is only 40 per cent complete. He gave assurances that the sugar corporation has money to pay all its bills.
“Because of the destruction that they have done, we now have to go and do a lot of critical work and we will need more money to put into and rehabilitate GuySuCo,” the minister said.
The PPP/C Government, through the 2020 Emergency Budget, had pumped $7 billion into the sugar sector. Some $3 billion was initially provided to start the phased reopening process of the mills. The ministry subsequently received $4 billion in supplementary funding last December. Minister Mustapha said if it the government has to return to the National Assembly to request more funds to sustain employment, and to rehabilitate and rebuild the village and country’s economy, then it will do so. (DPI)