The Straw Market Authority (SMA) suffered an operational loss of nearly $700,000 in 2014, a recent audit revealed.
On July 24, Minister of Public Works Desmond Bannister, who has ministerial oversight of the authority, tabled three financial audits for the SMA.
The audits, which were compiled by UHY Bain and Associates Chartered Accountants, examined the authority’s 2013, 2014 and 2015 financial statements.
According to the 2013 report, there was an operational loss of nearly $500,000 in the authority’s first full year of operations.
The authority suffered its highest operational loss in 2014, according to the audits.
“The authority continues to suffer operating losses of $672,641 during the 2014 fiscal year,” the 2014 report noted.
“From all indications, substantial losses will continue. This condition was acknowledged by the government of The Bahamas which supported the authority with $396,313 in operating subventions resulting in a net loss for the year of $276,328.”
In 2014, the authority collected revenue of $1.12 million.
However, according to the report, $1.8 million accounted for its operating expenses.
“Based on consistent government support, which has continued up to the audit report date, management believes that such funding will continue at levels sufficient to allow the authority to maintain its operations,” the report read.
“The after-balance sheet date evidence indicates that no material uncertainty exists that may cast significant doubt on the authority’s ability to continue as a going concern and the financial statements are prepared on going concern basis.”
The 2015 report noted significant decreases in the authority’s stall rental income.
In 2014, there was an income of $1.11 million.
However, that figure dropped to $1 million in 2015.
In 2017, Bannister cited grave concerns with the financial management of the authority.
At the time, Bannister revealed that former directors and board members awarded themselves Christmas bonuses despite no provisions in the law for such awards.
“The 2015 Christmas bonus was a total of $7,650.02 and was paid to the board members during March 2016,” he said.
“The 2016 bonus was a total of $7,233.35 and was paid on or about December 8, 2016.”