FRIDAY, FEB. 17: Nearly half of Government’s expenses for the last financial year were staff costs, the latest set of accounts revealed today.

Employee expenses amounted to nearly $600 million – 47.1 per cent of total expenses – for the year ending in March, 2011, up $23 million from the previous year.

The figure included $157.6 million in non-cash retirement benefit expenses — which will include costs like health care for retired civil servants.

The figures also revealed that service on long-term debt totalled $58.7 million, compared to $35.1 million in 2010-11.

The Government spent a total of $1.12 billion from its current account – $66 millio or six per cent above the predicted $1.05 billion.

Revenue totalled $996.7 million – more than $61 million less than predicted – but up nearly $79 million on the previous year’s figure of 917.9 million.

The accumulated deficit for the country stood at $1.29 billion at the end of the last financial year.

The statement on the Consolidated Fund were tabled in the House of Assembly today (Friday) by Premier and Finance Minister Paula Cox.

A statement by Auditor General Heather Jacobs Matthews gave a qualified opinion on Government’s books, as she did last year.

Ms Jacobs Matthews wrote: “I qualified my auditor’s opinion on the financial statement of the Consolidated Fund for the year ended March 31, 2010, on the basis of serious deficiencies in internal control over the management of various capital development projects.

“These deficiencies led me to question the appropriateness of certain transactions and the underlying value of tangible capital assets as at March 31, 2010.

“As a consequence of last year’s qualification, I am still unable to determine whether adjustments might be necessary to tangible capital assets and accumulated deficit as at March 31, 2011.”