There are about 30 government entities and companies that owe government holding company, National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) money and according to Officer in Charge, Horace James every effort is being made to get these outstanding sums.
James told reporters yesterday that NICIL has provided a list to the Minister of Finance seeking his intervention. Topping the list is the now Ministry of Public Infrastructure (MPI) with $174M spent by NICIL for work on roads leading to the Marriott Hotel. MPI is followed by the Central Planning and Housing Authority with $74M for work done at the Sparendaam, East Coast Demerara (Pradoville 2) housing scheme and GuySuCo, $61M for the rental of a building at 199 Camp Street.
Noting that NICIL has started the recovery process, James informed “We have quite a few of them in court and we have started our repossession. In fact we have even hired special lawyers who will be chasing down …those persons who owe”, he said. He added that they have won a case against one debtor and is vigorously pursuing the others.
He said that NICIL wrote to the minister outlining the government agencies that owe money and in response the minister indicated that he would meet the NICIL Board to discuss those matters.
Asked about the government dividends on its 10 percent shares in New GPC, James said payment is outstanding for 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015.
NICIL, he said, has written to New GPC in very strong terms stating that those dividends should be paid over immediately. He said that there was a reply from New GPC claiming that government owes a large sum of money and that at the moment a cash flow problem is being experienced. “But they still acknowledged that they owe us those dividends and our Board is not happy about it and I have written strongly to them…I think they have accrued it into their books but that is not good enough for us. We want the dividends to transfer it to the government”. The total dividends owed he said is US$5.7M.
Pressed for a definitive answer as to what the next step will be, he said that NICIL has not yet moved to the courts. He expressed confidence that the Board will pursue the matter vigorously and assured that the next move will be made in 2017.
James said that the money owed is for dividends declared and as such NICIL is uncertain how that will play out in court. He said that the company insists that cash flow is a problem because the government owes it. He said that he had not indicated this to government since NICIL was dealing with the bigger numbers. “We haven’t given up the money. We will be going after it”, he stressed adding that if no progress is made then the matter will have to be resolved in court. He said that they have not taken that step because they are confident that they will get that money from New GPC.
James also informed that NICIL had transferred dividends paid by Guyoil to the Consolidated Fund. He explained that NICIL has received dividends from Guyoil; $1B was received in 2015 and in 2016 two payments totalling $2.2B were made. All of those he assured have been transferred to the Consolidated Fund.