Sugar production at the end of 2017 was 138,070 tonnes, the lowest since Hoyte took action to stem the free fall in sugar production under the PNC in the late 1980s when production hit rock bottom at 129,920 tonnes. On that foundation, the PPP came to office and engineered sugar exports averaging US$124 million per year between 1993 and 2014. When we compare the three years under this post-2015 PNC-led Granger administration, sugar exports averaged US$72 million per year, a whopping 41% decline. The projected sugar exports for 2018 are expected to be less than US$50 million.
This is the Granger legacy, one laced with under-performance and poor execution managing the sugar industry. All he can do is spend on wasteful pageantry projects like the $1.5 billion D’Urban Park Play-ground, but he has few resources to invest in the productive sectors, including the sugar industry.
If one evaluates how much of this 138,070 tonnes was produced by the now-closed estates (Rose Hall, Skeldon, and Enmore), one finds that these estates collectively produced 49,414 tonnes of sugar. This translates to only 88,656 tonnes being produced in 2017 by those estates that were left open in 2018. What does this mean for 2018 sugar production?
GuySuCo has a target for 2018 of 103,002 tonnes but we all now are aware that is nothing but a bogus figure. GuySuCo will not surpass a production of 100,000 tonnes of sugar in 2018 because clearly, it does not have the factory capacity to support such an ambition. Based on the what I have seen of GuySuCo’s 2018 projections, they are expected to generate an export value of approximately US$49 million in 2018. This is far cry from the annual US$135 million-US$150 million that GuySuCo deposited into the Treasury for 10 years up until 2014 when the destruction of the Raj Singh/Donald Ramotar leadership under the PPP kicked in. The Granger Team promised they will make a difference but they lied and actually made the situation much worse.
When we asked Team Granger what they are doing to fill this financial gap as a result of low sugar exports, we continue to hear from the Granger boys and girls that gold and oil do the job and take the nation to the “good life”. If you check the statistics in the Bank of Guyana Reports, Team Granger clearly does not have a handle on the facts. There is very limited oil related cash-inflow today because most of it is now being channelled through Trinidad rather than Guyana for obvious reasons; Trinidad is better prepared to service the oil sector. Then the gold declaration was below its target in 2017 and gold exports have been flat compared to the previous year. So who really do these economic charlatans think they are fooling other than themselves?
So how are we paying for the 2018 imports?
The plan of Team Granger is to draw-down more of the gross international reserves, which is our savings in foreign currency. This is nothing but the destruction of saved wealth? They did it in the 1980s under Burnham and now they are doing it again today under Granger? Isn’t time they updated their economic model?
It is disgusting that after all these years they have learned so little on the principle of how to run an economy. They say it is a mistake to conduct yourself in error once, but to do it twice is just plain dotishness.