– int’l financial services provider for sugar SPU selectedThe Opposition People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) on Thursday expressed its deep concern and condemned the firing of almost 4000 sugar workers from the Skeldon, Enmore and Rose Hall factories, including junior staff, supervisors, and clerks.The Party said while thousands were now without a job and on the breadline, thousands more were indirectly affected by what it described as a “callous decision”.“The firing of the sugar workers comes less than a month after the coalition Government assured that the closure of estates, including Rose Hall and Enmore,Representatives of PricewaterhouseCoopers – the international financial services provider selected to undertake a valuation of the Guyana Sugar Corporation assets – meeting the SPU last monthwill not be done in 2017. The coalition Government also assured that it would have considered the “best interests of sugar workers” before decisions are made, in relation to the sugar sector’s future,” a statement from the PPP/C said.The PPP/C said it also noted the comments by Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, who claimed that he was surprised at news of the firings, but when pressed, admitted that there was knowledge about the move at the Government level, since the Agriculture Ministry is part of Government.“The PPP calls on the [A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change] APNU/AFC coalition Government to take immediate measures to address the plight of sugar workers…The PPP rejects the Government’s arguments about available fiscal space to continue support for the sugar industry, making the decision to fire thousands of sugar workers a political one,” the statement added.The Party also called on all sugar workers to remain vigilant ahead of the ‘struggle’ to reverse these decisions, which the PPP/C described as discriminatory since they cannot be supported by any rational thinking or evidence-based assessment.Also adding its voice to the issue was the minority party in the coalition Government, the AFC, which said in a statement that it remained deeply concerned for the welfare of sugar workers who were likely to be affected by the changes contemplated by the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo).The party said it would insist that as per the requirements in law, severance must be in place and in addition to that, due consideration should be given to: an offer of land leases for alternative economic engagement, access to small concessional loans for said alternative engagement and access to extension services and markets for agro-processing.“The party recognises that the State Paper on GuySuCo which was laid in the National Assembly in May outlines certain actions, which are necessary and unavoidable if the sugar industry is to be regularised and become sustainable,” the AFC said on Thursday.The party said it was cognisant that GuySuCo has been engaging with the workers and their unions for some time now regarding actions which are necessary, and called on GuySuCo to intensify this initiative to ensure that all workers were adequately briefed, counselled and are presented with all the necessary information regarding the future status of GuySuCo and the sugar sector.“The party recognises that the future of GuySuCo is of paramount importance and the Government must continue to pursue those options for the sugar industry which is not a burden on the national treasury. The AFC looks forward to an amicable resolution to this issue, but insists that as the Yuletide season is upon us, workers must not be adversely affected and the offer of severance must be thoroughly detailed and presented to the workers now,” it also added.SPUMeanwhile, the Special Purpose Unit (SPU) under the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) announced also that PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has been selected as the international financial services provider to undertake a valuation of GuySuCo’s assets.In a statement issued to the media on Thursday, the SPU said that selected tenders were invited from PwC, Ernst & Young, Deloitte, and KPMG. However, KPMG did not submit a tender. The other three firms all made presentations to the NICIL/SPU evaluation team.After the presentations were concluded, the evaluation team selected PwC. According to the SPU, all negotiations with PwC have been completed and a contract is expected to be signed by December 18, 2017.PwC, ranked as the most prestigious accounting firm in the world for the last seven consecutive years, will be conducting the valuation of all assets under the control of GuySuCo, in addition to providing other advisory and financial services.After the valuation exercise, PwC is expected to develop an investment prospectus, which, through the SPU, will be distributed to all interested investors. PwC will also be tasked with ensuring a level playing field for all interested parties and stakeholders.