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Postby dfr2xcdm72 » Wed May 16, 2018 4:26 pm

Skeldon factory glitches…By Leonard GildarieThe Chinese contractors of the new Skeldon factory has been called to meet with government and the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) to look at outstanding issues with the facility in wake of increased criticisms and concerns over its performance.Already, the Corporation has been withholding US$11M ($2.2B) in outstanding payments for the construction of the factory.A GuySuCo official has confirmed that the Vice President of the China National Technical Import and Export Corporation (CNTIC) will be meeting shortly with officials. Although the factory is working, there is a number of glitches, and the balance of money for the construction will not be paid until all outstanding issues are resolved, Kaieteur News was told.The new Skeldon sugar factory. Recently, President Bharrat Jagdeo expressed concerns over the factory and hinted at increased oversight to ensure that it meets required targets. GAWU blamesLast week, the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers’ Union (GAWU), which represents the biggest bloc of employees at GuySuCo, blamed Skeldon factory for the low productions levels by the sugar industry in Guyana.In a statement headlined “GAWU laments state of operations at Skeldon”, the union expressed its disgust over the state of operations at the factory, saying that it was more than 20,000 tonnes behind its budgeted production.“Since the crop commenced on August 13, 2010, at Skeldon, the factory has experienced a number of mechanical breakdowns which as late as November 9, last, brought production to a halt.”According to GAWU, operations ceased on Tuesday from about 04:00hrs until 16:00hrs due to a fault with the factory’s lone boiler.“During this time, approximately 600 punts of cane were at the factory to be crushed. The factory’s second boiler, which collapsed earlier this year, is still out of service. The union is reliably informed that repairs to that boiler are yet to commence.”According to the union, it is clear that inferior components were used in the construction of the factory.“No longer should the Corporation fail to replace the ill-suited and inferior components lest the factory’s interminable problems continue to bedevil the industry. The industry’s future is at stake. The industry currently has the capacity to produce 320,000 tonnes of sugar.“Should the new factory perform in keeping with the design with the additional canes from the Skeldon farmers and the expanded estate cultivation, a further 85,000 tonnes sugar could be easily produced yearly.”GAWU felt that with the prevailing high world prices, should the targeted production be met, the industry would once again be sound and it would propel itself to become sustainable and fulfill its expected role in the country’s economy.“It is time that the Corporation truthfully advise this nation on the state of affairs of the new Skeldon factory which continues to hemorrhage the industry’s treasury. The Corporation should desist from making the workers the scapegoats for its poor state of affairs.”A few weeks ago, Minister of Agriculture, Robert Persaud, led a team on a surprise visit to the factory.Last year August, the Skeldon sugar factory was formally commissioned at an estimated cost of US$181 million, making it the single largest investment in this country’s history.The establishment of the factory is part of a modernisation plan by GuySuCo and involved expanded cane cultivations, the establishment of a refinery, and the co-generation of electricity for the national grid.The sugar industry directly sustains some 18,000 jobs, and when that is multiplied to include their families, it means sugar supports a fifth of the country’s entire population. Sugar exports account for as much as 20 percent of the country’s annual revenue.Therefore,Wholesale NFL China Jerseys, the survival of the industry is seen as crucial to the country’s economic and social stability.The sugar industry attracted several strikes in recent times and with falling production demands to pay wages and salary increase, the going has been tough.GuySuCo has offered between two and five per cent wages and salary increase for the year but tagged this against production targets.It was only this week that the Corporation approached government for a $2B bailout to help pay off suppliers and creditors.
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