By Jomo Paul
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Chairman of the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) Commisison of Inquiry, Vibert Parvatan has revealed that the sugar industry has been operating at a loss of billions of dollars annually.
Parvatan, giving an update on the COI on Friday, stated that GuySuCo is in a very difficult situation with the unit production cost for sugar increasing each year.
“Every estate, without any exception, from Uitvlugt to Skeldon is operating at a loss. Every sugar estate is operating at a loss,” he stated.
According to the Chairman, the phenomenon has been happening for several years and from as early as 2005.
He said that in 2014, the company’s operations losses amounted to some $17B.
“In essence, the accountants will say that GuySuCo is insolvent, the past government and the present government have been committed and compelled to inject funds under the caption of bailout or subsidies to keep the company afloat,” said Parvatan.
It was acknowledged that the government through subsidies have been offsetting the blows sustained by GuySuCo, but every government, according to Parvatan, should have a limit on how far it is willing to go with respect to subsidies.
“While subsidies are not new to sugar industries, the administration – the government of the day, conscious of its sympathy and support for the industry, acknowledges that they have their own limits in terms of funding,” he said.
The Chairman noted that at the current pace, Guyana might not be able to sustain the subsidies being offered to GuySuCo.
“If GuySuCo was seen as just a business, there would have been a very simple obvious solution…But to the government GuySuCo is more than just a business… It is complex, it is complicated but not insurmountable,” he stated.
It was noted too that the Commission has already received several recommendations from persons who appeared before the Commissioners however some of them are impracticable.
The Commissioners will be submitting their final report to the Minister on October 17.