$9 million stimulus for sugar industry
The declining sugar industry in Barbados is expected to receive a $9 million stimulus in a few weeks.
In making the announcement at the annual general meeting luncheon of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry at Hilton Barbados this afternoon, Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Chris Sinckler, said the sugar support funds were about to come before him for signing.
“We have those resources to go out. It’s actually going to be $9 million from what I was advised. They’re ready to pay that over in another two weeks or so. It has to come to me shortly for signature and hopefully we would be able to go now.
“That is a kind of a bridging situation, which will then be taken over by the fuller loan for the complete restructuring of the sugar industry and in its current state, the retrofitting of the factory, into a single factory function, with multi-purpose functions,” pointed out Sinckler.
He said that in addition to producing quality sugar, it would also be a biomas plant, along with making biodiesel for electricity to be fed into the grid. That aspect, he noted, was a longer term project.
“And once the financing for that, which they are currently putting the finishing touches on, … is completed, then the resources from that will repay the bridging which would be undertaken to help the farmers get on with their business,” explained the Minister of Finance.
Sinckler also told the business leaders that the proposed Green Levy which had been announced in his 2012 Budget to assist with funding the treatment of garbage, was now ready for implementation. He disclosed that the levy was scheduled to go into operation from July this year.
As far as the proposed Hotel Fund was concerned, that too, he stated, was ready and would be part of a financing package Government would soon announced. He noted that this facility would finance refurbishment of hotels.
Sinckler said the National Insurance Department had prepared the fund and negotiations with some commercial banks would also be taking place to have the fund put under “very” strict management. He said very stringent commercial management would also be a criteria before it could be accessed.
“We are looking to see how a sub-part of that can also go as a grant to those (hotel) properties,” he added. (EJ)