It is time for some smart financial decisions in GuySuCo

first_imgIntroductionI wish Dr Harold Davis the very best of luck because I would not wish his role on my worst enemy today.  He has to follow politicians who are clueless and not policy savvy enough to help him in his job, and yet, he is expected to bring stability to what remains of the sugar belt. However, I am expecting him to do much better than his past three predecessors; all of who failed the sugar industry, especially Raj Singh under the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) and Errol Hanoman under the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC).  What these two men have failed to achieve during their tenure resulted in the key managers being totally demotivated which led to their collective disempowerment, which worked against a vision of greater stability in the industry. They failed to lead in a manner that positively affect the psychological turnaround needed in the sugar belt. Because of their failure, today some 8000 families are facing partial starvation.  This will always be the legacy of Raj Singh and Errol Hanoman across the sugar industry.Today we are left with an industry bankrupt in terms of ideas because the best of the team is now long gone. Those who remain are unable to communicate the solutions effectively across the industry because more people are inwardly focused on protecting themselves rather than on the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo). The people in the sugar belt are today living in a culture of fear, which reliably stifle initiatives and solutions.  I am hoping that Dr Davis will help change such a situation.The organisational pathologies associate with failure is very much alive in GuySuCo – financial secrecy, the blame game, avoidance of the issues until it is too late, and most importantly, a feeling of helplessness across top management because of the massive acts of political interference.  Again, this started under the PPP but has gotten so much worst under the APNU/AFC-Working People’s Alliance to the point that total war has been declared between Ministers when it comes to how to spend this new loan of GY$30 billion. The stark reality is that these people are more focus on how many of their families and friends can draw from this pot of cash rather than becoming positive enablers for the stabilisation of the sugar industry.But what is sickening is that top operators in the Granger Government are pushing the line that GuySuCo is worth more dead than alive as a State-owned entity.  The natural reaction to such a lack of vision at the top, especially from the workers, is cynicism. So, the norm across GuySuCo is now – showing up for work just for enough hours and days to be able to stay on the payroll for the next year and do the minimum to not get sacked. The fire in the belly is now gone from most of the workers. The spirit of the sugar workers redoubling their efforts in order to expand their earned Annual Performance Incentive is now a distant past, thanks to the key policymakers in the Government. Increasingly the workers are spending their time and energy on self-protectionism rather than joint problem-solving activities at all levels across the industry. That is a recipe for disaster.But the main killer of the industry is that too many good managers have left the industry for alternative opportunities both locally and overseas.  Those few skilled ones who remain had to double up their efforts but there is only so much one can do. A direct outcome from such capacity weakness is that many critical tasks across the industry remain undone.  For example, year after year across the industry, the simple act of “flood fallowing” is not being done at the right pace to increase productivity in the field.  If at the start of the process you have poor productivity, how can you expect the factories to produce more sugar from a lower yielding cane?  Insanity at its best is alive in GuySuCo today!Managers today are actively engaging in the mediocre strategy of setting low goals for themselves to guarantee they would achieve them. Can we understand why GuySuCo is set to only produce 92,000 tonnes of sugar in 2018 compared to 216,000 tonnes just four years ago?  The capacity is gone, the productivity is gone, and the flames are down to its last flicker in 2018. Unfortunately, some GY$30 billion will be lost as we continue to throw good money away because they cannot get their act together. And why?  There is a shortage of adequate smart financial and strategic decision-making capabilities backing the sugar industry in 2018 and that is not about to change in 2019.Sase Singh, M.Sc. – Finance, ACCAMaryland, USA(347) 241 4322last_img

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