GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Aug 11, CMC – The financially-troubled state owned sugar company, GUYSUCO has recorded a GUY$6.3 billion (One Guyana dollar =US$0.004 cents) operating deficit during the first half of this year, according to a mid0year report released by the Ministry of Finance.
According to the report, the revised revenue forecast for the Guyana Sugar Corporation for this year is GUY $27.1 billion down from the budgeted $28.9 billion.
It said the corporation expects to record increased revenue from land sales, but lower revenue from sugar sales.
According to the report, expenditure is forecasted to rise to GUY$35.7 billion, putting the deficit at GUY$8.6 billion. However, the closing of Skeldon Energy Incorporated (SEI) during the first crop, weather, strike action, and factory maintenance downtime were some of the factors that contributed to the lowering of sugar production targets and revenues.
GUYSUCO has also indicated that private sector companies from India and Trinidad and Tobago are exploring the possibility of acquiring the operations at Skeldon.
A government statement noted that the sugar industry continues to be plagued by several problems, including an increase in the price of several inputs such as fertilizers among other issues. It said that tese issues have had a negative impact on the company’s ability to comprehend sufficient cash to cover its operating costs.
The statement noted that the sugar industry employs more than 13,000 people or over 75 per cent of the total employment amongst the PUBLIC Enterprises (PEs) and at mid-year, GUYSUCO’s employment cost was an “alarming 111.5 per cent of revenue”.
GUYSUCO has noted that the world market price for sugar over the past six months has dropped significantly with a range of US$ 250 – 275 per tonne.
According to the GUYSUCO website, it supplies 65,000 tonnes of bagged and packaged sugar to Caribbean and local markets annually, while 12,000 tonnes of raw sugar is supplied to the North American market.
The corporation said that it is hoping to supply an estimated 70,000 tonnes to Europe following the second crop.