Privatization of Sugar Assets to be Completed by June 2008 – PM


The Government has set June 2008 as the deadline for completing the privatization of sugar assets, held by the Sugar Company of Jamaica (SCJ).
Prime Minister, Bruce Golding, who made the announcement in the House of Representatives on (Oct. 9) in response to questions posed by former Agriculture Minister, Roger Clarke, said that the negotiating team has been instructed to act expeditiously, to enable Cabinet to take a decision before March 31, 2008, in order to effect the sale and lease arrangements for the transfer of assets by June.
He noted that proper valuations will have to be done on the assets to be privatised while bids are being invited and before the negotiations begin. “The Cabinet took the position that it would be highly irresponsible to privatise, whether by sale or 50-year lease, five sugar factories and more than 30,000, hectares of prime agricultural land without having a proper valuation of these assets as a benchmark for evaluating the bids and conducting negotiations,”Mr. Golding said.
“It should also be noted that the arrangements put in place by the previous administration require that the Government take over the debts of the Sugar Company of Jamaica which, by the time the exercise is concluded, are likely to be in excess of $18 billion,” Mr. Golding said.
Cabinet, on October 1, approved the establishment of a negotiating team to evaluate tender proposals from eight companies that have been short-listed to bid for the five public sector sugar factories.
The team, which is chaired by Aubyn Hill, includes Ian Persaud, Vice Chairman of the Jamaica Broilers Group; Sharon Webster, Manager of the Petro Caribe Development Fund; John Vassell, Attorney-at-Law, and Ambassador Derrick Heaven Chairman of the Sugar Industry Authority.
The companies short-listed are Angostura Limited from Trinidad and Tobago; Coimex of Brazil; Dhamphur Sugar Mills of India; Energen Development Limited and J. Wray and Nephew Limited from Jamaica; Flo Sun Incorporated from the United States; Infinity Bio-Energy from Brazil and Stirling Partners from the Bahamas.
The five sugar factories under consideration for privatisation are Monymusk in Clarendon, Bernard Lodge in St. Catherine, Frome Estates in Westmoreland, Duckenfield in St. Thomas and Long Pond in Trelawny.

JIS Social