THE National Training Agency’s (NTA) annual Government subvention for this year is $27 million with a deficit of $7 million, but it has an accumulated cash balance of $46 million in its bank account, Chief Executive Officer Steve Arman said.
Asked at yesterday’s hearing of the Public Accounts (Enterprises) Committee how the $7 million deficit was being addressed, Arman said, “We have been addressing that deficit for the last period (2016 to 2017) and this period through our residual bank balances that we have been withdrawing from.” He added, “We have approximately $46 million in the bank.” Asked if she was aware of the $46.6 million which was in the bank as of January 31, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education Angela Sinaswee-Gervais said, she was only made aware of its in recent months as the ministry has begun to receive financial statements from the NTA.
“We suspected that was how (the NTA) was managing the deficit,” she said. The practice, she said, is that unused monies from Government and State agencies is to return them to the Consolidated Fund. Audited accounts of the NTA for the period 2012 to 2017 have not been presented to the Parliament.
Asked by PAEC Chairman Wade Mark if the ministry was going to continue to release funds to the NTA knowing there is a special fund that the ministry has no control over, Sinaswee-Gervais said, “Before the release of any more money to the NTA we would be seeking the advice of the Comptroller of Accounts.” Expressing concern PAEC member David Small said, it appeared that the NTA’s actions were “questionable” as it needed $36 million to run its operation while having $46 million in the bank.
Asked what will happen when the cash in bank runs out how the deficit will be addressed, Arman said, that was being addressed by three conceptual frameworks which include minimising operational costs and reconfiguring what could be done to earn revenue as the NTA has been receiving subventions from its inception.