Several int’l companies signal interest to invest in Guyana’s sugar industry


Sugarcane workers [File Photo]
Several entities across the globe have signalled their interest in partnering with the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) as the Government of Guyana forges ahead with plans to reopen the Enmore, Rose Hall and Skeldon sugar estates.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo), Sasenarine Singh, without delving into much details, related that nine foreign entities along with one local company have signalled interest in joining hands with the Corporation for the revitalisation of the industry.

He was keen to note that the process is still in its infancy stage and requires all the “business confidentiality” that could be afforded at this time. However, he stated that thus far they have received EOIs from Asia, North America, South America and the Caribbean.

“Interests are being expressed in sugar refinery, ethanol production, several applications for agro-energy, distillery and packaged sugar,” he said.

Recently, Indian High Commissioner to Guyana, His Excellency Dr KJ Srinivasa, said that at least three Indian companies have already expressed interest in entering into a joint venture with the Guyana Government, and more companies are likely to come on board.

“Already three companies have expressed their interest in coming…in response to the Government’s circular… The next process is awaiting [a decision from Government]. As far as I understand, there are many companies that have already expressed their interest, so once that Expression of Interest phase is over, [the Government] will call for consultations…,” Dr Srinivasa had said.

The notice inviting EOIs was first published back in September, and noted that “The Government of Guyana, as the sole shareholder, is supportive of this initiative to invite interests from the Private Sector to participate in different forms in the ownership or operation of GuySuCo.”

According to the Indian High Commissioner, the introduction of the Private Sector into the sugar industry would yield good results for Guyana. In fact, he pointed to the sugar sector in India, which is completely occupied by the Private Sector.

Dr Srinivasa explained that almost all the sugar mills there have diversified their operations, thus making their ventures more profitable.

Under the previous APNU/AFC Government, four of Guyana’s seven estates – Wales, Enmore, Rose Hall and Skeldon – were closed, resulting in thousands of sugar workers being placed on the breadline.

The PPP had promised on the elections campaign trail to reopen these estates, and within weeks of being in office, have taken steps in this direction while also injecting funds to keep the cash-strapped and heavily indebted GuySuCo afloat with the three remaining estates – Albion, Blairmont and Uitvlugt.

Under new leadership, GuySuCo has already embarked on steps to revamp the industry and has already rehired hundreds of sugar workers who were previously sacked. It was reported that by year-end, some 300 workers would be rehired at the Skeldon Estate alone.

Meanwhile, Minister Mustapha has also engaged private cane farmers in Berbice, who produce 32 per cent of the sugarcanes used by GuySuCo.