World Cup ExpensesThe Opposition has consistently taken issue with the expenditure which has been incurred as part of Jamaica’s preparation for World Cup Cricket.
Has some resonance with the public, particularly when the suggestion is that the $9 billion spent would have been better directed at interventions in the social sectors, particularly to assist the poor.
Superficial, as any expenditure incurred is always at the expense of something else.
Yesterday the PM clinically dissected the objections, noting that we cannot wait until all “needs” are met before establishing some Points of Excellence.
Now we have a set of sporting facilities consistent with our tradition and presence on the world stage.
Secondly, a large percentage of the expenditure was on capital works which will remain with us after World Cup and will benefit the society in the medium to long term.
The fact is, expenditure on the two stadiums was approximately US$67 million and roughly 50% of that came by way of a very concessional loan from the Chinese. This loan was not in the form of cash and hence would not have been available to renovate basic schools, etc.
Also included in the $9 billion price tag are improvements to the health system, equipment and motor cars for the security force, additional buses for the JUTC, and improvements to the road infrastructure.
As such, the public should not be fooled by the notion that $9 billion had been spent to host the seven cricket matches. Much of the expenditure has been on infrastructure which will benefit the total population.
I cannot think of one Jamaican who was not proud of the manner in which we conducted ourselves on show to the world during this period. The thousands who attended the Opening Ceremony and the matches came from all strata of society. It was a refreshing reminder of what we are capable of doing when we are united as one family.
Rather than doing what they do all too frequently, which is to see every single negative, let the members of the Opposition join in identifying ways in which these national assets can be maintained, consistent with Jamaica’s pride of place internationally as a centre sporting excellence.
In his presentation, the Opposition Spokesman listed a set of public enterprises which he argued, represent a drain in the public purse. Included in these, he made reference to a company – Clarendon Alumina Partners which he indicated had accumulated a deficit of US$84 million. He asked how will this be dealt with.
Let me confess first that I had a difficulty, in that no one could find a company called Clarendon Alumina Partners. There is an entity called Clarendon Aluminum Production Limited, which I assume is what the Opposition Spokesman was referring to. It is ironic that he made this error, in that CAP was established during the last JLP regime when Alcoa temporarily closed the Halse Hall plant.
The Opposition Spokesman’s interpretation of the documents appearing in the public bodies estimates of expenditure reflects a clear, unfortunate misunderstanding of CAP’s accounts.
The accumulated deficit referred to in that document (page 111) is not a deficit to be funded, but rather details the losses that CAP has incurred over its 22-year history. These losses are stated as they can be applied against future earnings in order to reduce the company’s tax liability.
This sum includes non-cash expenses such as depreciation. The fact is that CAP over the years has made a positive return on its operations. However, at this time, the demand for capital is extraordinarily high because it is undertaking special projects with a life time exceeding 25 years.
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