Suriname economy can survive end of the bauxite era, economist says

(De Ware Tijd) PARAMARIBO — The end of alumina production in Suriname does not mean a disaster to the economy. Other mining sectors are cushioning the blows already. What Suriname needs to do is use its natural resources more intensively.
Former banker and economist Anthony Caram voiced his view on the current problems with bauxite producer Suralco in a lecture for political party NPS. Caram says the government should only decide to reach a helping hand to Suralco if this will eventually result in a positive economic benefit to the country. The economist argues it would be useless to try to keep Suralco alive with the taxpayers’ money if the company would finally prove not to be viable. ‘Cutting production or terminating it altogether would be a major setback, but not a fatal blow to the economy,’ the economist states.
Diversification of the economy and growth of other sectors such as gold and petroleum would be able to cushion the effects termination of the bauxite sector would have on the country. The authorities need to find a workable solution for the Suralco issue. However, Caram foresees the government opting for massive support for Suralco. He considers this likely move very unwise because it would not benefit the country at all. Even if Suralco would quit Suriname the country would still be able to realize an economic growth of 3 to 4 percent in the next years owing mainly to the contributions by the gold and petroleum sectors. The biggest problem linked to the bauxite dilemma is the issue of employment. The skilled workers will find employment very fast, but the problem lies with the lowly educated workers. However, this is a solution the company must find.

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