Finance Minister Winston Jordan does not believe the country’s foreign exchange earnings will be affected by the ongoing scale-back in the operations of Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo).
Speaking to media operatives on Friday, Jordan said GuySuCo’s operations have been scaled-back for some 18 months now, yet the foreign exchange earnings remain intact.The Finance Minister was at the time being questioned on the uncertainties in the market regarding reports of a shortage of foreign currency in the country.
“GuySuCo operations has been scaled back now for the last 18 months or so and the market still functions properly, we maintain a healthy reserves and so on,” he stated.
Jordan explained that over the last 50 years, Guyana has had one leading commodity or the other that has “bailed it out”.
“It was bauxite at one time; for a short time it was sugar, and right now it’s gold. So something will step in essentially. And even with the lower earnings from sugar, rice and timber, we still have reserves that are higher today than at the end of 2015,” the Finance Minister stated.
He went on to say, however, that the foreign earnings from sugar could only be affected if one looked at sugar alone. He pointed out that Government’s plan was not to stop sugar production completely, but rather to diversify the industry. In this regard, he contended that the foreign revenue earnings will not be affected.
“Only if you look from sugar itself, but the changes we are looking at are a comprehensive package with diversification…” he explained.
There have been reports that there is a shortage of foreign currency in Guyana. The report had cited complaints from those in the business sector. This, however, has consistently been denied by Jordan and Central Bank Governor, Dr Gobind Ganga.
But at a recent public forum, the Finance Minister called on those involved in the practice of hoarding foreign currency – exporters, importers and cambios – to be responsible and heed the entreaties of the Government. He also had issued an ominous warning: failure to do so would result in the Government taking decisive action.
In fact, the Finance Minister disclosed that he has already begun engagements with the various financial institutions on the matter.
“We have a number of actions being taken behind the scenes,” he stated. (Guyana Times)