By Fareeza Haniff
[www.inewsguyana.com] – The APNU+AFC government has approved $3.8 billion bailout for the ailing Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) to meet the shortfall from now to August given the fact that its income will only amount to US$1.6M and the expenditure will be US$5.7M.
Minister of State, Joseph Harmon told a post cabinet media briefing on Wednesday, June 17, that 60 percent of the bailout is expected to be repaid to the government coffers.
According to Harmon, for August to December, 2015 GuySuCo will earn US$13.6M, but expenditure will be US$19.5M; therefore another bailout is expected to meet the shortfall.
Cabinet decided to approve the bailout following an application made by GuySuCo for a $16.8 billion bailout for the remaining of the year. Since assuming office in May, the new government fired the Corporation’s Chief Executive Officer and the entire board of Directors, replacing it with an interim management committee.
Harmon told the news conference that Agriculture Minister, Noel Holder has been tasked with the responsibility of finding better markets for the country’s sugar, in an effort not to rely solely on the European Union market.
Harmon assured that the government is not pouring money down a “dark hole,” given the constraints being experienced at GuySuCo.
“What we’re doing right now at GuySuCo, we’re trying to clean up that hole into which the money is hoard.”
Meanwhile, the Minister revealed that as a result of changes being made, the Corporation has been able to save US$14,000, which was paid to persons within GuySuCo per month.
This amount was paid to a Public Relations Consultant and some Indian Nationals, on a monthly basis, combined.
“Fees which were paid to certain persons who were working in the industry and in our view, basically not doing anything much and some other fees that were paid to other professionals which we don’t believe really is in the best interest of the corporation at this time,” Minister Harmon said.
He further noted that a “full fledged” inquiry into GuySuCo will soon be undertaken. GuySuCo has been suffering increased losses over the years. In 2014, the sugar corporation received a $6 Billion bailout from the PPP/C government.