NICIL money invested in undisclosed projects
…only US$3.5M remains in the coffers – Brassington
By Gary Eleazar
Head of the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) Winston Brassington, has revealed that its accounts hold some $700M and not $50B as touted in some quarters.
The $700M however, represents only that which is in NICIL accounts as a singular entity and would only include proceeds from the Privatization Unit.
The Privatization Unit according to Brassington falls under NICIL accounts given that it is not an independent legal entity but rather, an arm or agent of NICIL.
He said that the $700M referred to as reflected in NICIL accounts, does not reflect the accounts of any of the subsidiaries of NICIL.
The Subsidiary Companies that NICIL controls include The Guyana National Newspapers Limited, publishers of the Chronicle, NCN, GUYOIL, National Edible Oil Company, Guyana National Printers Limited, Linden Electricity Company, and Guyana National Shipping Corporation. It has shares in several other companies including Guyana Stockfeeds Limited and more recently, Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company and the Pegasus.
The accumulated monies in these accounts are still unknown publicly.
Brassington explains that for a complete NICIL report, inclusive of the subsidiaries to be tabled, then each of the subsidiaries accounts will have to be audited.
This, he explained, is a function that can only be undertaken by the Audit Office. It has not been completed.
According to Brassington, all of the books for the subsidiaries for up to December 31, 2010 are with the Auditor General and this is where the process is stalled.
He did stress the point that each of the companies which are subsidiaries of NICIL operate with their revenues independently, “as if it were their own.”
Brassington says that as it relates to the monies netted by NICIL, the company has three options.
He said that overhead expenditures are met, dividends are paid and the company can invest.
Asked about the proceeds from transactions such as the sale of the Sanata Complex at Industrial Site to Queen’s Atlantic Investment Inc (QAII), the sale of a large track of land to Eddie Boyer as well as the shares in GT&T, Brassington said that, “most of this is invested.”
Brassington said that as it relates to the sale of the 20 per cent shares owned by Government in GT&T, to Hong Kong buyer, Datang Telecoms, this deal has not been finalized.
Speaking to the point raised by Opposition parties that money controlled by NICIL does not find its way into the Consolidate Fund, Brassington pointed this publication to the 2012 Budget Estimates which illustrate a figure of $744.2M paid to the Consolidated Fund from NICIL as, “Dividends from Equity Holdings.”
The 2012 Budget Estimates point also to some $454M paid to the Consolidated Fund for 2010 and a projection of some $600M to be paid over this year.
The 2011 Budgetary Estimates illustrate also that some $1.2B was paid over from the Consolidate Fund from NICIL in 2009.
Brassington is reported as saying that over the past two decades some $20B in dividends has been paid over to the Consolidated Fund.
Speaking directly to NICIL’s total investment portfolio, while Brassington was unable to place a figure to this, pointed to the 2004 report which lists $22.4B as total assets.
He said that as a holding Company for the State all are considered investments.
Attorney General Anil Nandlall has said that Brassington, is preparing to sit with reporters to speak of the transactions of that Government-owned company.
According to the Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr Roger Luncheon, this past week, theoretically the assets under NICIL could add up to $50B but this will have to include both movable and immovable assets and other properties.