…reps from PricewaterhouseCoopers, Ernst & Young, and Deloitte in GuyanaAs Government moves ahead with plans to privatise and diversify the sugar industry, three firms who met the deadline for tender for International Financial Services Provider all made presentations to the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) evaluation team.Representatives from PricewaterhouseCoopersHead of the Special Purpose Unit (SPU) under NICIL, Colvin Heath-London said the second stage in the process of selecting an International Financial Services Provider was conducted on Monday at the Marriott Hotel in Georgetown. The SPU is expected to announce a selection by mid-December, he said.The selected International Services Provider would be conducting the valuation of all assets related to the sugar estates up for privatisation and diversification, in addition to advisory, financial, and other related services. The three firms that met the October 30 deadline for submissions and made presentations are: PricewaterhouseCoopers, Ernst & Young, and Deloitte.Representatives from DeloitteFollowing the presentations, Heath-London said they were “all very engaging and the firms all have the international and regional experience as expected”.Each of the firms included persons with substantial experience in sugar diversification and privatisation in the Region, and as such, the dialogue was rigorous and engaging.The SPU Head also indicated that the other preparations were on track to have the assets ready for privatisation and/or diversification.The SPU has been meeting with the management of the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) as well as with other industry stakeholders, including the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) and the National Association of Agricultural, Commercial, and Industrial Employees (NAACIE).Representatives from Ernst & YoungAccording to a statement from the SPU on Monday, both GAWU and NAACIE expressed support for the Unit’s efforts to keep the estates operational in the interest of the economy and the workers.The unions also expressed concern over the reported moving of equipment from the estates set for privatisation and diversification, and urged the SPU to quickly safeguard the assets to ensure the best possible deal for these estates and the workers and communities they support.The SPU also met with executives of the Private Sector Commission (PSC).The SPU has said it was interested in companies, both local and international, that could integrate the production of sugar into their existing operations and product mix. According to the Head, companies that are in rum production, other beverage manufacturing, and food processing, for example, would be ideal as potential operators of some of the current GuySuCo assets. While factories could be sold to potential operators and investors, lands will not be sold but could be leased.The Opposition has since said that the SPU, set up by the Administration in order to sell assets belonging to GuySuCo, is nothing but a vehicle for corruption that completely bypasses the established privatisation procedures and the sale of State assets.