View post tag: ten View post tag: Naval Sri Lanka Navy Assists in Repatriation of Ten Indian Fishermen View post tag: Fishermen View post tag: Assists View post tag: Lanka View post tag: Sri July 12, 2012 View post tag: News by topic View post tag: Navy View post tag: Indian Sri Lanka Navy assisted in the repatriation of 10 Indian fishermen along with 2 fishing boats on 10th July 2012.The fishermen with their fishing trawlers were handed over to the Indian Coast Guard Ship “ Gangadevi ” at the International Maritime Boundary Line off Thalai-mannar by Sri Lanka Naval Vessels “ Edithara II ” and “ P- 223” attached to the North Central Naval Command.Repatriation of Indian fishermen and their boats comes as a direct result of the collaborative efforts made by the Sri Lanka Navy and the Indian officials.[mappress]Naval Today Staff, July 12, 2012; Image: Sri Lanka Navy Back to overview,Home naval-today Sri Lanka Navy Assists in Repatriation of Ten Indian Fishermen View post tag: Repatriation Share this article
State Audit Says Railroad Contracts at Vermont Agency of Transportation Could Be Managed BetterAgency did not competitively bid $7.2 million in construction work; did not charge interest on late lease payments; and did not collect salvage proceeds properly, among audit findingsMONTPELIER (December 5, 2008) – The Office of Vermont State Auditor Tom Salmon, CPA, reported today that oversight of railroad construction contracts in the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) is inadequate and is costing the State money.”One conclusion of the audit is that the Rail Division is not ensuring that the required competitive bidding in these contracts is taking place,” said Deputy State Auditor George Thabault. “Contracts are being ‘sole-sourced’ and this denies other companies the opportunity to compete for State contracts, and may be keeping the State from getting the best price for goods and services.”The rail audit was conducted following a request made by VTrans that the State Auditor investigate the deficiencies of its rail section and suggest improvements.”We recognized that we had some issues within our Rail Division that needed correcting, and requested the Auditor’s assistance,” said VTrans Secretary David Dill. “On our own, we were unable to clearly identify our weaknesses in a way that both we and the railroads could understand. Our goal is to use the findings of this report as a catalyst to forge a new and better relationship with the companies that run our rail systems.”The audit report noted four key findings:1. VTrans and its railroad subcontractors did not follow procurement regulations designed to foster open, competitive bidding, resulting in $7.2 million of recent contracts with Vermont Railway and one of its affiliates not being competitively bid. The largest no-bid contract – for $4,677,727 – was also issued without the required approval of the Secretary of the Agency of Administration.2. Oversight and administration of rail contracts need improvement. For example, auditors found that $82,401 from rail project salvage proceeds was being held by Vermont Railway to offset against future invoices rather than being returned to the State as required by contract. (The Agency has since discontinued the practice of allowing the netting of salvage credits and has adopted new procedures to promptly receive and account for salvage payments.)3. Lease revenues and agreed-to performance requirements of leaseholders are not being verified, and VTrans has forgone $37,000 in interest stemming from late payments of monthly leases for State-owned track.4. The Agency did not adequately follow up on past audits which reported $436,000 of questioned costs related to contracts with Vermont Railway.For the project, auditors selected four contracts totaling $7.2 million dollars, approximately 44 percent of the total active rail construction and railway upgrade contracts during fiscal years 2007 and 2008. All contracts were between VTrans and Vermont Railway and Green Mountain Railroad, two companies of the Vermont Rail System (VRS), a privately held, affiliated group of short-line rail transportation companies that operates in Vermont.Auditors recommended that AOT strengthen and clarify the language within its rail agreements, improve the oversight of contracts, enforce penalties for violations of the terms and conditions of its contracts and lease agreements, and provide for better fiscal management of its contractors and service providers.In its response to the report, the Agency of Transportation generally agreed with the report’s recommendations and pledged to provide the State Auditor with quarterly status reports on corrective actions.”VTrans already has put in place new business practices that correct some of the Auditor’s concerns, and we certainly will make additional changes to rectify the remaining deficiencies,” Dill said. “VTrans recently hired a new Rail Program Manager, and one of his top priorities is to improve our rail business operations.”Background:The oversight of the railway network in Vermont is the responsibility of the Vermont Agency of Transportation Rail Program. Vermont’s rail system consists of approximately 748 miles of track or rail right-of-way. The State owns approximately 427 miles, of which 305 miles are currently active. Ten railroad companies operate or have the rights to operate on the rail lines in Vermont.For Fiscal Year 2009, the AOT total budget is $412.2 million. The Rail Section is allocated $16.8 million of this budget. The Rail Section currently has eight staff positions of a total of approximately 1,050 positions in the Agency. The complete audit report is available at www.auditor.vermont.gov(link is external). Click on “Audits & Reports” and then “Special Audits” to access the new audit report.
The Pension Protection Fund (PPF), the UK’s lifeboat fund, has set out its expectations for the next three years, suggesting it could reach £22bn (€27bn) in assets under management (AUM).By 2017, the fund will have grown from its current size of £15.6bn and seen the number of members grow from 204,000 to 280,000.The PPF said it saw 120 schemes transfer into the fund over the last financial year, which will be joined by 80 schemes this year, and 90 schemes each in the following two.Its expenditure on fund management fees is expected to rise from £85.4m to £120.6m, in line with its growth in AUM. It also confirmed it was on track to complete its funding mission of self-sufficiency, expected by 2030.Elsewhere, research conducted by the National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF) showed the recent changes announced in the Budget to DC at-retirement options would lead to growth in second-pillar savings.Some 28% of workers contacted by the lobby group said they were now more likely to start, or increase, saving in a pension scheme following the Budget.This compared to 3% who said they were less likely to save, or stop entirely.The research also highlighted potential issues for DC investment strategies, with a quarter (24%) saying they would take their entire pension in cash.However, 58% said they preferred to receive a regular income, such as an annuity.Some 19% agreed they would take the cash irrespective of whether they had other savings elsewhere, suggesting the number of pensioners choosing this route could be significantly higher than the government anticipates, the NAPF said.And finally, the monthly bulk annuity market monitor, produced by Aon Hewitt, showed pricing for both buyouts and buy-ins were better than 12 months previous.It also showed growth in assets would leave schemes in a much better position for a buyout than many trustees expected.However, it also argued the Budget had had little impact on bulk annuity pricing, despite expectations individual annuity providers would shift business towards the bulk space, potentially leading to a competitive lowering of prices.Authors of the report, Dominic Grimley and Paul Belok, said: “This will help to sustain competition in the bulk annuity market as demand from schemes rises.“We do not expect bulk annuity pricing to react materially in the short term, as the market is already competitive.”