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Friday 13 December 2019
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NTA strays from mandate

The National Training Agency has had no audited accounts presented to Parliament for 2012 to 2017, it has had no strategic plan in place since 2015 and its chief executive officer (CEO) was not present on Wednesday to account to Parliament’s Public Accounts Enterprises Committee.

As the lead entity responsible for technical and vocational education and training, the NTA also has no fixed assets policy, risk management and fraud policies in place.

NTA board chairman Dr Ruby Alleyne and its executive were advised to get the policies in place as soon as possible by members of the PAEC.

At the start, Alleyne told the meeting that CEO Steve Arman, who reported ill, appointed Brian Bissessar, the agency’s senior manager of human resources as acting CEO so as to answer questions on his behalf, an appointment Arman had no authority to make. Arman reported ill over the past three days but had not presented a medical certificate. The NTA’s administrative structure, Alleyne said, does not present any option for acting appointments and as such there was need to revise the organisational structure to accommodate acting appointments. Because of Arman’s absence, PAEC Chairman Wade Mark has asked the Parliament secretariat to invite Arman and the former CEO who held the post from 2008 to 2011 to attend another meeting of the PAEC.

Discussion on Arman’s absence took up close to half an hour. When asked, Bissessar said that Arman never took any vacation since he took office three years ago and he never applied for sick leave.

Noting that the NTA has had no strategic plan in place since 2015, Alleyne said one for 2018 to 2023, is a priority of the board. The current board took office in 2017. Last week, she said, “We (the board) approved the award of a consultancy to conduct that exercise.”

The second priority is to appoint external auditors to conduct the outstanding audits from 2011 to 2017.

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