Georgetown : President David Granger said the government remains committed to ensuring the welfare of sugar workers and their families as it consolidates the sugar industry.
In a special address to the nation on the state of the sugar industry , President David Granger said the government will soon begin the payout of severance to the 4,000 retrenched sugar workers.
“It has estimated for the expenditure of over $2B to provide 50 percent of severance pay due to all ex-employees by the end of January 2018 the remainder being paid in the second half of the year,” the President said.
Additionally, the government has begun an “extensive review” of ministerial budgets with the aim of reducing them “in order to find funds to enable sugar workers to receive their severance pay” the President pointed out.
“The Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) is not being dismantled. It is working actively to ameliorate the impact of retrenchment on workers livelihood,” President Granger assured.
A $100M allocation from the government for small loans is expected to aid GuySuCo’s Alternative Livelihood programme for retrenched workers. The allocation seeks to encourage “entrepreneurial activities which could open opportunities for employment after leaving the sugar industry,” the President noted.
President Granger reiterated that the sugar industry is being consolidated, not closed. “The government has acted resolutely and responsibly to protect the livelihood of workers and to preserve the viability of rural communities and to prevent the further financial depletion of the country’s treasury.”
The amalgamation of the industry into three factories and estates at Albion, Blairmont, and Uitvlugt is intended to improve the efficiency and competitiveness of GuySuCo while protecting the jobs of more than 11,000 workers.
“The Government is cognisant of the invaluable contribution of the sugar industry to the development of Guyana. The Government will continue to work towards returning the reformed sugar industry to profitability and improving the personal income of sugar workers while seeking to provide a good life for current and future generations,” the President said.