Tue | Sep 26, 2017

Auditor General says NROCC debt blunder caused by typing error

Published:Thursday | November 12, 2015 | 11:24 PMJovan Johnson, Gleaner Writer
An apology from the Auditor General's Department came today hours after Finance Minister Dr Peter Phillips disclosed on Cliff Hughes Online on Power 106 FM today that NROCC's actual debt as at March 31 this year was around $71 billion.

The Auditor General's Department says the blunder in reporting the debt of the National Road Operating and Constructing Company (NROCC) was the result of a typographical error.

In a report tabled in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, the Auditor General said in the past six years, NROCC had accumulated around $332 billion in debt.

But it has since acknowledged that this was an error.

The correct figure is $73 billion.

Chief economist at the Auditor General's Department, Gail Lue Lim, says the $331.7 billion mentioned in the report tabled in Parliament should have been $31.2 billion and would have represented the increase in NROCC's debt between 2009 and 2015. 

The economist also says the figure was only mentioned in the summary of the findings and not in the actual report which also references the $73 billion debt. 

That figure includes $71 billion in long term liabilities and an additional $1.9 of short term debt. 

Lue Lim has apologised for the error.

The apology from the Auditor General's Department came hours after Finance Minister Dr Peter Phillips disclosed on Cliff Hughes Online on Power 106 FM today that NROCC's actual debt as at March 31 this year was around $71 billion.

Lue Lim said the corrected information will be sent to the Parliament and posted on the website of the Auditor General's Department. 

Speaking this afternoon on RJR's Beyond the Headlines, the transport and works minister, Dr Omar Davies said it was a "rookie error" and suggested that the Auditor General's Department should review its quality control.

NROCC represents the interest of the government under a concession agreement with the developers of the Highway 2000 project. 

Under the concession agreement, the project will revert to the government at no cost, after 35 years.