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The Irfaan Ali-led Government will ensure the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) receives additional subventions next year, if necessary, to restart operations at three of the four shuttered sugar mills, Minister of Agriculture Zulfikar Mustapha said Wednesday.
Mustapha in an interview with the Department of Public Information (DPI) said his administration is determined to transform Guyana’s sugar sector and will pursue it aggressively.
“This year we have set aside $3 billion in the first instance and then an additional $2 billion. GuySuCo is working with that and hopefully it can also get its revenue coming in the country. But if it is necessary to give GuySuCo more subvention then we will have to do it to ensure that we put GuySuCo on a proper footing,” he said.
The Minister referenced the “motor industry” in the United States, noting that the government there, provides subsidies for the industry since it creates employment for a large section of the population.
Like the “motor industry”, GuySuCo the Minister noted, is the single largest employer locally and government will support the Corporation until it is fully operational.
“GuySuCo has also been playing a different role in the society. Sugar production is the primary activity at GuySuCo, but there are other important services and then we are looking at diversification, where we want to bring value added products. So, we have to continue to invest in the company,” he said.
Meanwhile, over 700 persons have been hired at GuySuCo to date. At the Skeldon Estate 278 persons were hired, while 205 have already gained employment at the Enmore Estate and 278 at the Rose Hall Estate.
“Management is also looking to employ more people; they have put out notices and there are a number of persons who have submitted their names for reemployment. Of course, these are workers whose jobs were terminated,” the Minister relayed.
Minister Mustapha said over 7,000 people could gain employment at the company in the future, even as the entity plans for diversification.