More transparency for NAMCo

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The government is looking to reassure the public about the operations of the National Asset Management Company Limited (NAMCo) which pursues private sector investments on behalf of the administration. Melford Nicholas, the information minister and NAMCo’s deputy chairman, told reporters at this week’s post-Cabinet media briefing that there appears to be heightened interest in the workings of the holding company following questions he faced about the entity’s accountability.
As a result, Martin Camacho, NAMCo’s corporate secretary, and board member Whitfield Harris, the government’s financial secretary, attended Thursday’s briefing to provide an update of its operations. “With respect to the internal accounting, the board of NAMCo has recently settled on a company that will be doing the accounting for NAMCo. As all of us might be aware there are certain obligations under the Companies Act that we have to live up to, one of them being proper accounting,” Harris said.
“But separate and apart from that, NAMCo as a board is concerned that good corporate governance principles are observed, we are quite aware that at some point we need to be accountable for public funds and so we have deemed it not just appropriate but urgent that the situation of the accounting be addressed,” he added. According to Harris, once the systems are in place, the auditing will be done and “at some point the accounting of NAMCo will be brought to the parliament as is required by the Finance Administration Act.”
“There’ll be a full accounting to the public with respect to the goings on for NAMCo,” the official said. The internal auditing is to be done by PACCS Inc. whose principal is Sandra Baptist, a Certified Accountant, while accounting firm BDO, formerly KPMG, will handle the external audit. According to Nicholas: “To be on full disclosure there is no intent by the government to pigeonhole or hide away from the public’s view or scrutiny the operations of NAMCo.”
NAMCo was incorporated in 2016 as an investment vehicle aimed at stimulating economic activity in the private sector. Asked whether it had achieved any success encouraging local investors, Nicholas responded in the affirmative and pointed to the Sunshine Car Park Hub. “The government acquired that asset last year and we have now begun to put another investment vehicle around the Sunshine Car Park Hub in which NAMCo will retain the interest of the government in that vehicle but that vehicle is intended to attract other local private partners and at least two of them have come forward so far.”
Nicholas added that within the coming weeks NAMCo intends to make a number of announcements with respect to the completion of the Sunshine project. “There will be some other opportunities there for local persons to come on board and invest in the completion and participation in that project.
(More in today’s Daily Observer)

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