By Kurt Campbell
[www.inewsguyana.com] – The Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) owes some GYD $19.4 billion in short term debt, among which is $700 million owed to the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) after the corporation failed to pay insurance for hundreds of workers over the last four months.
According to GuySuCo’s Finance Director, Paul Bhim the company which is one of the largest employers in Guyana also owes the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) $2.7 billion in PAYE and property taxes. The Corporation also owes local banks some $2.5 billion.
Bhim along with other senior Officers of GuySuCo and Agriculture Minister Dr. Leslie Ramsammy were at the time addressing the Parliamentary Sectoral Committee on Economic Services.
Bhim explained that by the end of the year GuySuCo hopes to become current with its payment to the NIS but said it will not be able to do the same for GRA.
Meanwhile, the Finance Director pointed out that in the long term the company has a debt of US $112 million which is primarily related to the Skeldon Factory. Of the US$112 million, $56M is owed to the World Bank, $32M to the China Exim Bank and $24 million the Caribbean Development Bank.
He said the Corporation is current in meeting its weekly and monthly labour commitments with regards to paying employees and assured that that will remain as it is.
Bhim gave a breakdown of how the subvention which was given to the Corporation in 2013 and 2014 was and is intended to be spent.
With regard to the $6 billion 2014 subvention, Bhim outlined that $2.1 billion would be spent on upgrading infrastructure, just over $1 billion will be spent to procure tractor and fuel machinery, $1.1 billion on factory works and repairs. Also $350 million will be used to repair pumps, $270 million to procure punts and $30 million will be used to buy generator sets.
Bhim said most of the 2013 subvention was used on improving field and factory standards.
In recent time there has been much debate surrounding the viability of GuySuCo with calls being made for it to stop sugar production. Over the last three years government has had to provide subsidies to the Corporation in wake of reduced production.