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$28.7B approved for agriculture sector; Agri Minister defends $6B allocated to GuySuco

Opposition Member of Parliament Jermaine Figuera on Tuesday questioned the Government on when the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) will become profitable, as millions of dollars are being pumped into the sugar company. In response Minister of Agriculture Zulfikar Mustapha said the government will do whatever it takes to make GuySuco to where it was before, including the provision of resources to the company.

Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha.

The agriculture minister explained that this will be achieved by making sugar more value-added as monies have been allocated for enhancing the packaging plant in Uitvlugt and another is to be established in Albion.

The Government is also working towards making GuySuCo more diversified.

He said

“Mr. Chair, we're working to go there to break even, first of all, that is our main objective, we have strategic plan that we working with now. As I said that the three operating estates, we will enhance that tremendously this year and we are moving to ensure that.”

Meanwhile, the minister explained that the Skeldon Estate will be reopened in phases.

Minister Mustapha revealed that the $30 billion given to GuySuCo in 2019 by the National Industrial and Commercial Investment Limited (NICIL) to retrofit and revitalise the three remaining sugar estates has been exhausted. He noted that only $3.5B was left in when he took office in 2020.

"I can't say how the monies were exhausted during the APNU/AFC time; however, monies was used on from the bond to do some work within GuySuCo. I am saying over the last 18 months, the bond was exhausted, that is why the government is forced to continue subsidies in GuySuCo ",

the minister said to the Committee of Supply.

$28.7B was approved in the Committee of Supply following the consideration of the estimates for the Ministry of Agriculture on Tuesday.

$55M for the improvement of the aquaculture sector and $60M for the building of fences and provision of equipment for the Hydrometeorology Office.

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