Government textbook contract pushes JTA finances into surplus
The Jamaica Teachers' Association (JTA) has experienced a 125 per cent increase in its revenue. The teachers' union raked in approximately $79 million as at the end of the financial year in March.
Last year, revenue stood at $35 million as the association continued to haemorrhage from a massive scheme which saw it being defrauded of close to $100 million.
The JTA has now moved from a deficit position of $51 million to a surplus of $5 million, thanks to a contract that its publishing arm received from the Ministry of Education.
The assets of the union registered improvements, moving from $754 million last year to $827 million in 2016.
Chartered accountant Charlton Hylton, who presented the consolidated financial statements to the 52nd conference of the association, held at the Hilton Rose Hall Hotel in Montego Bay, explained that the performance of the Jamaica Publishing House (JPH), a wholly owned subsidiary of the JTA, contributed to the improvements in the financial position of the union.
"For the last financial year, the Jamaica Publishing House had a contract with the Ministry of Education as it relates to the publishing of textbooks. That created a windfall ... the sales of the company doubled and that created a surplus of $34 million before taxation versus five million for the previous year," he told delegates at the conference.
Sales at the publishing company skyrocketed and saw an increase of $34 million in excess of the $35 million earned in the last financial year. The contract signed with the Ministry of Education saw the JPH printing and distributing 45,000 copies of the JPH Social Studies for Primary Schools.
According to Hylton, the performance of the publishing company contributed significantly to the improved finances of the JTA. He also noted that better management of expenses and increased earnings by the union were also contributing factors.
Chairman of the finance committee, Sherlock Allen, in giving his comments on the improved finances, explained that consolidating the financial reports of the union and the publishing house resulted in a stronger position for the group. He noted that the decision was taken to consolidate after forensic audit in 2013 revealed that the JTA had been defrauded.