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(Photo: Guyana Sugar Company)

Guyana Sugar Company targets multi-billion dollar outstanding debt

(Photo: Guyana Sugar Company)

The Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) says it is committed to meeting its debt of more than GUY$50 billion (One Guyana dollar=US$0.004 cents) as it forges ahead to meet its 2020 production goal despite the significant weather setbacks.

“Between September to now, GuySuCo has paid off its 60 to 90 days portion debt and we are now working on the 30 to 60 days portion.

“We are trying to catch up with NIS (National Insurance Scheme), because it is extremely important that GuySuCo be up to date with the Scheme, because of the implication with the work force,” GuySuCo’s chief executive officer, Sasenarine Singh, told reporters.

On Monday, Singh said the state-owned sugar company had paid an estimated GUY$123 million to the NIS and that it hopes to pay a large sum on a monthly basis. The Corporation is working to clear its backlog of about GUY$475 million at NIS by June 2021.

(Photo: Guyana Sugar Corporation)

But while he made it clear that the funds being used to make the payments came from GuySuCo’s earnings, Singh could not provide the grand amount still owed to the other stakeholders.

GuySuCo has been suffering from severe financial strain over the past years. It has incurred debts with the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) and the NIS. The sugar company also owes regional and international banks and funding agencies.

Singh told reporters that the sugar company is moving ahead to meet its 2020 production goal and hopes to surpass 90,000 tonnes of sugar this year, even as he expressed some concern that with the lengthy rainfall, this might be impossible.

“GuySuCo got hit hard by this unexpected and unusual rainfall. After November 2 it rained for about a week, it blew away that opportunity, and we basically have the best three weeks left,” Singh said, adding that the sugar company missed out on gaining almost GUY$354 million from sugar production, because of the current condition of the cane fields.

“This is a serious situation because this is a large sum of money that we could have been using to invest in the sugar industry and to pursue the 2021 plan. This situation is heartrending since it affected approximately 8,800 sugar workers.”

However, Singh remains confident that with the help of the ‘hard-working” staff, “we are going to work towards it” and that plans would be put in place to ensure that the Corporation is not similarly affected next year.

To date, the sugar company has produced some 80,674 tonnes of sugar.