Sums earned from the rental of the National Stadium at Providence will finally be transferred to the Consolidated Funds, according to Permanent Secretary of the Department of Culture, Youth and Sport Alfred King.
He made this disclosure yesterday while appearing before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).
According to the 2014 Auditor General Report, the department, which was at that time a ministry, deposited $48.561 million into Special Project Account № 01626004000, instead of the Consolidated Fund.
“This sum consisted of revenues totaling $47.791 million, which were realised from the rental of the Guyana National Stadium. Similarly, in 2014, the ministry deposited revenues totaling $25.658 million of which $23.612 million was realised from the rental of the Guyana National Stadium,” the report explained.
When questioned, King noted that to date the funds have not been deposited into the fund as he was awaiting a “policy directive on how to proceed.”
He explained that it was the intention of the former government to operate a company to manage the stadium and steps had already been taken to operationalise it.
“Cabinet memo of 2012 gave NICIL authority to establish Secure Holdings Inc. It further authorised NICIL to establish a Board of Directors consisting of a chair and two other members.
In that same document, it allowed for all the assets of National Stadium to be vested in that company and be managed by Secure Management Inc,” King explained.
He added that Secure Management Inc was established in December, 2014 but had not taken over management of the Stadium.
The audit report also noted that the minister had responded to the query by stating that the ministry sought permission from the Finance Secretary, via memo dated 27 September, 2013, to operate a bank account for the Guyana National Stadium to deposit all proceeds realised from events held and to date has not received official permission so that the account can be separated.
Asked to explain the current position of the stadium, King told PAC Chairman Irfaan Ali that he had “discussed the matter in depth with his present minister (Minister of Education Dr Rupert Roopnaraine) and was waiting for the minister to approach the Cabinet for a way forward.
However Ali refused to accept this position, while noting that there are enough reported proclamations by the Minister of Finance on the matter to act as a clear policy directive.
“The Minister of Finance has declared in the National Assembly that all funds should be placed in the Consolidated Fund at the end of the year. There can be no clearer directive than that,” Ali said.
In response, King noted that steps will be taken from today to have those monies transferred to the Consolidated Fund. However, the sum to be withdrawn from the account will be significantly smaller than that which was deposited as the balance with regard to the National Stadium now stands at less than $2 million.