By Esther Durand, BVI News Staff
Unaudited financial statements for the period 2012 to 2016 has affected the government’s ability to secure loans for recovery.
Government’s Financial Secretary Glenroy Forbes made the disclosure during an interview with BVI News on Tuesday, July 24.
He said though talks are being held with various financial institutions, ‘it is done at a point of weakness’, because of the unaudited financial statements.
“I came with a mandate to try to get the accounts tabled. It should not have taken so long but because it has taken so long it poses problems for us in this current year,” he said.
“Because without having our accounts audited and have an independent party come and verify what we say our financials are, we are hard-put when we come to regional and international agencies and financial institutions to say we want to borrow money.”
With an estimated £3.3 billion in damage across all sectors from the 2017 disasters, government said it will be exploring various avenues with the aim of seeking loans and grants to fast-track the recovery process.
Earlier this year the territory was able to secure a $65 million loan from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).
Affecting UK guarantee loans too
Unaudited statements are also stalling the BVI’s ability to access loans through the United Kingdom.
The UK promised the territory it was willing to offer a £300 million loan guarantee to assist with hurricane recovery.
“The UK has already said ‘BVI if you want to get this guarantee by October of 2018 we want to see your audited financial statements of 2016′,” Forbes told BVI News.
“As a matter of fact, they were saying [to have the financial audits ready] by the end of June, but the Ministry of Finance has been in negotiations with them given the realities on the ground, with the hurricanes and what have you, we cannot get it done before the end of October.”
He said the 2012 and 2013 financial statements have been audited thus far while the 2014, 2015, and 2016 statements are scheduled to be ready by the end of October.
Notably, audits for 2014 and 2015 have been submitted to the office of the Accountant General for review. It will then be passed on to the independent auditors who will review it and have the statements verified.
According to the financial secretary, he is confident that the British Virgin Islands will meet the October target as all parties involved are working ‘assiduously’ to get the financial statements audited.
Over the years, the Dr Smith-led government has received heavy criticism for not producing the required annual audited statements.
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