Edmond Campbell, Senior Staff Reporter
HIT WITH a severe shortage of trucks to carry out public cleansing, the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) will this year pay out $761 million to private contractors.
Executive director of the NSWMA Jennifer Edwards said the agency has set aside the money to pay for 82 private trucks, at an average cost of $15,000 per trip. She said each unit contracted to move solid waste does a minimum of two trips per day.
The agency has sought the services of private contractors as 80 of its trucks are now in a state of disrepair.
Edwards told members of the Public Administration and Appro-priations Committee of Parliament on Wednesday that it received $40 million to repair 23 of the units.
The agency now has about 55 units that are operational. She said 274 trucks were needed to carry out two trips per day to clear the waste.
allocation of funds
From a budget of $1.8 billion, the NWSMA boss said the agency has, to date, spent $960 million for sweeping services across the island, collection services, and heavy-duty equipment services at eight disposal sites.
Meanwhile, committee member Mikael Phillips raised concern, that the agency has not submitted any audited financial statements from 2008.
In her response, Edwards said the financial statements for entities which fall under the NSWMA have been completed up to 2012 and the audits are ready to go to external auditors. However, she said, work was still being done to complete financial statements for the NSWMA.
Asked what led to the delays, Edwards explained that "it was not the priority of the agency over the years" to complete the financial statements.
She also said the fire which destroyed documents at the agency in January 2012 contributed to delays in collating information to complete the financial statements.
The NSWMA executive director pledged that the statements would be submitted before the end of the current financial year.