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Chung Working to Get NSWMA Financial House in Order

Published:Sunday | October 18, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Dennis Chung

The National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) may be on the cusp of a turnaround in regards to its financial affairs.

The garbage collection agency has not submitted an audited financial statement in nine years and has also been faced with a number of operational issues which lead to the sacking of its executive director and chairman earlier this year.

Now under the chairmanship of Dennis Chung, the NSWMA has been making strides in bringing the audited statements up to date. In an interview with The Gleaner, Chung said he has been focusing sharply on bringing the books up to date and strengthening the competency of the accounts departments.

The pace at which he would like to see the financial house-cleaning move has, however, been stymied by the fact that the organisation is currently without a financial director. While the recruitment process for a financial head is on in earnest, Chung said the services of a consultant has been engaged in the interim.


Capacity building

"The capacity in the department itself needed beefing up, so the acting executive director has been looking at that, and we are now trying to finalise on a finance director. The acting executive director has been working with someone on a contract basis so we are working on that. What we have to do is build the capacity within the organisation for the whole reporting to come together," he said.

Chung also explained that the legal structure in relation to the regional branches of the NSWMA has been reorganised to create more accountability in the reporting process. He said the previous structure posed a problem in terms of getting information into the head office for auditing purposes and consolidation of the financial reports.


Corporate governance

Another aspect of the organisation which has been overhauled is the corporate governance structure.

"We are now getting ready to publish a board charter, a code of ethics and a competency profile for board members. We have made some progress on the accounts and we expect that progress to start accelerating from now," Chung said.

Operationally, the NSWMA has moved to standardise its garbage-collection times and has placed the collection schedule on its website. Chung argued that this will allow the public to hold the organisation to a standard of timely collection of their garbage.

He also spoke to The Gleaner about plans for the Riverton landfill. While he was tightlipped on the details, he hinted at a major move in relation to the management of the dump. There have been calls by several individuals for the dump to be privatised.

"I don't want to say what the future plans are for Riverton, we will come out with that shortly. There are still some deliberations about what specific direction to move in because it is not an easy thing; it's complicated. There are a lot of tentacles coming up now, but we are getting there," he said.