The Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Guyana (FITUG) is casting blame on the coalition government for the deplorable financial state of the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo). The federation’s comment comes days after the company said that it is struggling to stay afloat, and called out to government for support. The Finance Minister, Winston Jordan purportedly responded, and the FITUG issued the following statement:
The recent announcement by the Ministry of Finance that the Treasury is unable to provide any sort of assistance to the State-owned Guyana Sugar Corporation Inc (GuySuCo) has brought into focus the health of our nation’s economy at this time. Indeed, it has long been suspected that the economy has been ailing for some time as more and more data continue to indicate that all is not well. This, of course, has been brought into sharper focus by the GuySuCo announcement.
As we consider the situation, we recognize that at the end of April, this year, the public deposit account has been overdrawn by some $88B, a $10B increase from the month prior. Even more alarming is the sustained and massive deterioration of the account which had a positive balance of just over $5B in May, 2015. In other words, that account alone was drained of some $92B and further indebting each Guyanese, on a per captia basis, by approximately $120,000.
We have been informed that this is the most acute state the public deposits account has even found itself in. This, for us, is deeply worrying considering the economic challenges we faced in the past. Apart from that, other troubling indicators are also emerging. We have seen data indicate that our gold reserves have been largely liquidated with just a pittance remaining. Apart from that, our foreign currency reserves are below the acceptable threshold. All of this occurred, at the same time, that the Coalition, over the last five (5) years extracted from Guyanese taxpayers some $300B more in additional taxes. It begs the obvious question where has this money gone? Where has it been spent and what benefit did it bring to the Guyanese people. These are certainly pressing questions that require conclusive answers at this time.
Even the new star, oil, has faltered already with revenues this year well below what was anticipated. That comes against the backdrop of the minimization of sugar and the heavy taxes placed on the agricultural sector, mining and forestry which have only served to reduce exports and thus promoted greater instability in the economy. Clearly, the Coalition has led us down the garden path and greater difficulty seems to appear on the horizon. It is now even more necessary that a legitimate Government be installed into office and the task of rescuing Guyana commence in earnest.