AGO's new report flags HDB for allowing its car parking system to be manipulated

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The Auditor General’s Office (AGO) has released its Report for the financial Year 2015/2016. The Report is now available online here: http://bit.ly/2a9OBqD. According to a press release, AGO said that it uncovered instances of inadequate financial controls over Government operations and weak governance – one of the agencies named was the Ministry of National Development’s Housing and Development Board (HDB).

The AGO found that HDB did not exercise adequate oversight of the operations of its car parks at industrial estates and residential estates, which were outsourced to commercial operators.

The AGO report stated: “There were many instances where vehicles were not charged parking fees and motorists had evaded payment by manipulating the car park system. HDB could have detected these instances if it had examined the data from its car park system and the monthly reports from the operators of the car parks.”
1 2Early this month, the HDB announced that it was raising the parking charges at its car parks by over 20 percent from December 2016. It said the fee hike was necessary to cover $100m yearly loss.

HDB further said that their operating costs have risen by 40 percent since 2002 when car parking rates were last revised, and that at current parking rates they would not be able to fully recover the full cost of providing for parking.

HDB which revealed that it spends $700 million a year operating carparks justified the increase saying, “without the increase in the carpark charges, HDB will face an average shortfall of more than $100 million for its carpark activity in the coming financial years.”

Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong also supported the increase saying that it was necessary to avoid a scenario where non-car owners are subsidising parking costs for car owners. Mr Wong said:

“Inflation has gone up overall and so the main reason the agencies are raising this, is really because of the need to keep pace with inflation and to keep pace with cost increases. We don’t want a situation where, inadvertently, we subsidise car parks -meaning to say, non-car owners subsidising car owners.”