Government is restructuring the economy to maintain stability in the face of challenges posed by the global economic crisis

Dear Editor,
Last year, Guyana managed to sustain macroeconomic stability despite the challenges posed by the global economic crisis. In order to maintain this, government intends to restructure the economy by reforming policies and investment strategies. Plans are under way to modernize the traditional productive sectors of sugar, rice and bauxite, and expand and develop new and emerging sectors, such as fruits and vegetables, livestock and aquaculture. In addition, there is also the push to promote other sectors such as tourism, manufacturing and industry, small businesses, telecommunication, alternative energy, and oil exploration.

As we all may know, our sugar industry has been battling for survival and has been experiencing many challenges.   As an effort to resuscitate Guyana’s sugar industry, an interim board headed by Dr Nanda Gopaul is now in place at the Guyana Sugar Corporation, which seeks to revive the sugar industry.

The survival of the sugar industry requires an increase in its production to reduce its production costs, and at the same time secure financial viability.  At mid-year 2009, the Skeldon Sugar Factory is expected to start operations and produce at least 110,000 tonnes of sugar within a 3-year period.  Another benefit of the Skeldon Sugar Factory is that it would be able to provide electricity for the Berbice area, and would have an excess of 25 megawatts that would go to the national grid.

Government will continue to sustain rice cultivation levels, improve seed quality and availability and improve the paddy trade. Additionally, there will be the construction of a new seed facility at No 56 Village, so as to disperse seed production from Burma and make possible easy access to improved seed stock by all farmers.   Last year, the bauxite industry experienced a downturn; for this reason, government made a commitment to work along with the two major operators: the RUSAL Bauxite Company of Guyana and Bosai Minerals Group Guyana Inc, in an effort to revive this industry.   Government’s efforts in these areas will sustain the country’s sound macroeconomic fundamentals at a time when the world is experiencing the global financial tsunami.
Yours faithfully,
Marissa Lowden

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