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Jagdeo hints at govt paying GUYSUCO’s pension debt

Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo on Thursday signaled that government would pay the Guyana Sugar Corporation’s GY$420 million debt to the Sugar Trading Enterprise Pension Scheme (STEPS), in the wake of a formal demand by the regulator to the State-owned producer of the sweetener.

“Once it has to do with workers’ pension and contribution, then just like how we promised to keep the NIS (National Insurance Scheme) going, we will have to make sure we deal with it,” he told a news conference.

However, sources said GUYSUCO’s Chief Executive Officer Sasenarine Singh claimed that he did not receive the letter that was dispatched on August 15, 2023 by the Bank of Guyana, the regulator for insurance companies. The sugar corporation was originally given two weeks to respond to the letter but now, according to the sources, that deadline would  have to be pushed back to cater for the apparent non-receipt of the correspondence.

The privately-owned Stabroek News newspaper first reported on Thursday that the Bank of Guyana has written GUYSUCO calling on it to pass on $420m in contributions from workers that are intended for their STEPS pension scheme.

That newspaper reports that the Bank of Guyana has told GUYSUCO that the non-remittance of the amount to the Sugar & Trading Enterprises Pension Scheme was a breach of trust and called for immediate payment.

In late December, 2022, there had been a public complaint that for 10 years GUYSUCO workers did not receive payouts from STEPS.