Doubts on feasibility of Suriname sugar factory

(de Ware Tijd) TAMANSARIE/PARAMARIBO – People were elated on the prospects of a new sugar factory in the District of Commewijne. Chinese entrepreneur Qu Bolin had boldly announced that he would invest in the industry, despite the fact that he knows nothing of sugar manufacturing.

His expert would be former Mariënburg estate worker Kadin Wansantana. But although the bill board announcing the Commewijne Sugar Industry was unveiled enthusiastically, the new company is still only on paper. The investment of US$ 5 million would not be small. De Ware Tijd learnt from investor Qu Bolin that only part of the funds, approximately US$ 150,000), would be his. The remainder of the sum would come from Chinese investors including Wu Zu Yuan, Zhen Ai Min, Ye Shao Wei and Zhong Guoren.

However, these investors are shrouded in mysteries. Qu Bolin has neither name nor address linked to these investors. He explains that small enterprises in China do not have to register with the authorities. The Commewijne Sugar Industry was established last year in September. Officially three shareholders have signed the register at the Chamber of Commerce (KKF): Qu Bolin, Wangsantana and Liu Jibiao. However, Wangsantana claims that Jibiao has been kicked out because he wanted to boss the others around. Qu’s son is now the official third shareholder.

The company is registered at KKF with a capital of SRD 5,000, which is quite low for a million dollar investment. Wangasanta explains that it was a mistake which will be righted. The company’s business plan states that it will produce sugar for the local market for which it has been awarded 1,000 hectares of land by the Ministry of Zonal Planning. If the company is successful it will get an additional 4,000 hectares. The factory will be built on the former estate at Siparipabo. ‘Within five years we will be producing sugar,’ Wangasanta says. ‘We’ll be producing toilet paper and ethanol from the residual.’

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