The embattled Barbados Water Authority (BWA) has come in for unflattering mention in this year’s Auditor General’s report.
In fact, based on the results of a survey on the indebtedness of state agencies, the BWA has earned the dubious honour of coming out on top.
In his report, the Auditor General expressed concern that about 50 state agencies’ accounts were not included in Government’s financial statements. However, he said based on a survey of 28 entities, liabilities in the amount of $1.4 billion were recorded.
This includes $266 million for the BWA, which was broken down into $162.5 million in loans, $46.9 million in payables and $57.2 million in pension liabilities.
This has nothing to do with the Barbados Workers Union’s demands for payment of over $30 million in increments, which are due to 830 unionized workers who staged crippling protest action in March to force the BWA’s hand.
The embattled BWA has also recently been grappling with severe water challenges that have left residents in the north and east severely hamstrung.
Also listed among the highly indebted state entities are the Barbados Agricultural Management Company at $244 million; Barbados Conference Service Limited at $50 million; Barbados National Oil Company Limited at $176 million; Barbados National Terminal Company Limited at $90 million; the Barbados Port Inc at $133 million; the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation at $94 million; the Queen Elizabeth Hospital at $196 million and the Transport Board at $172 million.
Among the entities which did not submit information as requested were the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation, Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc, National Housing Corporation and the Sanitation Service Authority.
The Auditor General, who also highlighted the fact that only three of the 20 Government ministries submitted revenue statements in accordance with the Financial Management and Audit Act, expressed strong concern about the under reporting.
He said it could result in Government, the public and other stakeholders not having a comprehensive view of public finances, which also affects decision-making.