“Rapid assessment” report of State agencies submitted to President Ali

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L-R: Kit Nascimento, Chris Ram, Nigel Hinds, and Sasenarine Singh

The high-level rapid assessment team has submitted its report on 19 State agencies to President Dr Irfaan Ali.

INews had previously reported that the four-member team, which had worked pro bono, has discovered gross financial irregularities during its assessment of the State agencies.

The team comprises of Certified Public Accountant, Nigel Hinds; Chartered Accountant and Attorney–at-law, Chris Ram; Financial Consultant, Sasenarine Singh and Public Communications Consultant, Kit Nascimento.

They were tasked with assessing the operations of the Guyana Power and Light (GPL), the Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI), the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC), the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA), the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC), Guyana Gold Board (GGB), the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL), Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission (GLSC), the Lotto Fund, the Guyana Energy Agency (GEA), the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB), the Guyana Oil Company (Guyoil), the Guyana National Shipping Corporation (GNSC), the Guyana Office for Investment (GO-Invest) and the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo).

They were also asked to assess the Department of Public Information (DPI), the National Communications Network Incorporated (NCN) and the Guyana National Newspaper Limited (Guyana Chronicle) as well as the Guyana National Broadcasting Authority (GNBA).

INews understands that the team found that almost all of the agencies reviewed were being financially mismanaged.

“Some organisations are struggling to pay their August salaries and we are seeing a severe condition of depleted cash on all fronts. Political interference in the management function is also key flashpoint that people (the team members) are finding. There are cases where Board members pushing themselves to act as management staff,” the source explained.

The team found that in one instance a Board member at a particular state agency appointed themself as manager as well. In addition to interfering with the day to day operations of the various agencies, the team also found that several senior managers also accumulated leave which should be taken.

Ultimately, the team was tasked with establishing whether the agencies have the financial capabilities to pay salaries for August, to ensure a seamless transition from the old Board to new, and to protect the assets of the agencies.

It was reported that there are several recommendations for each of the assessed agency. Among those recommendations, is the fact that every state Board ought to be recalibrated to reflect the true needs of that agency.

“A Board is not supposed to get into day to day management of any organisation and what the team found is that the Board is involved in the day to day management of the organisation and what that does is it weakens their independence so they can’t hold the orgaisations accountable because they can’t hold themselves accountable,” the source related.

It was explained that there are no adequate separation of functions from the Board and Administration and that is the major contributing factor to the current fiscal state of the agencies.

“The team recommend that all board members must be replaced with fresh Boards. They are also recommending that the skillset for the Board be there,” the source said, adding that the common trend the team discovered was that the various state boards were highly politicised and lacked the professional experience required for leading the agencies.