CJIA records $1.3B profit for 2019

The Cheddi Jagan International Airport

The Cheddi Jagan International Airport Corporation (CJIAC) made a net profit of $1.3 billion for 2019, the last full year before the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic wiped out large sections of international travel and Guyana’s airport went on lockdown.

This is contained in the airport’s financial statements for 2019, which together with the 2018 statements were laid in the National Assembly last week. According to the financial statement, the airport made its money from various sources.

For instance, the airport saw some of its income coming from the passenger service fee ($1.784 billion), aerodrome ($211 million), concession and security fees ($172 million), car park fees ($85.7 million) land leases ($13.9 million), fuel dispensing ($10.8 million) and escort fees ($1.866 million).

It also had a number of administrative expenses for the year 2019, including $678.5 million in employment expense, $30.5 million listed under the rubric of “bad debt” and $3.927 million for meals.

Mention was also made in the statement of the CJIA expansion project, the scope of works for which was downgraded under the former A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Government.

According to the CJIAC, costs incurred by the corporation as at December 31, 2019, on the expansion project was $338.6 million. Additionally, it was noted that the corporation would advance US$1 million towards expansion that would have been refunded by the subject Ministry.

When the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Government took office in August of 2020, the CJIA expansion project was one of the more problematic projects the Public Works Ministry inherited from the former APNU/AFC Government.

The CJIA expansion project was mired in controversy, after the former Government took over what was supposed to be a fixed price US$138 million contract and accepted downgraded works from contractor China Harbour and Engineering Company (CHEC).

The contractor has since been tasked by the current Government with revising the scope of works to include the original terms of that contract. And during his 2021 budget presentation, Finance Minister Dr Ashni Singh had announced the Government’s intention of injecting $2.5 billion more into the CJIA expansion.

In his 2019 Audit Report, which was handed over in December of last year, Auditor General Deodat Sharma had highlighted the fact that CJIA was among several other statutory bodies which had failed to comply with Section 80 (4) of the Fiscal Management and Accountability Act of 2003.

Section 80 speaks to the presentation of financial statements for audit in a timely manner.

According to the AG, at the time the last financial statement laid was 2017. However, the head of the budget agency had informed the Auditor General that the audits for 2018 and 2019 had been completed and were waiting to be laid in the National Assembly.