Parliamentary committee to discuss Grímsey ferry Skip to content

Parliamentary committee to discuss Grímsey ferry

By Iceland Review

Ásta Ragnheidur Jóhannesdóttir, the vice speaker of the Althingi parliament, said yesterday it is likely that a parliamentary committee, of which she is member, will discuss the debate surrounding the new Grímsey island ferry.

According to Morgunbladid, the current debate involves the Icelandic National Audit Office and the Ministry of Finance who disagree on permission for financing the purchase and renovation of a new ferry for the island, located northeast off Iceland.

Jóhannesdóttir said the parliamentary committee is scheduled to meet next week to organize the operations of Althingi. “I expect that [the ferry debate] will be on the agenda at the meeting, which I find natural considering the discussions and debates that have surfaced in relation to the execution of the state budget that Althingi is supposed to supervise.”

Speaker of Parliament Sturla Bödvarsson, who heads the committee, could not be reached in relation to this story.

The Icelandic Audit Office has criticized the Ministry of Finance for exceeding cost estimates for the purchase and renovation of a new Grímsey island ferry by far. According to a permission issued by the office, the ministry should have sold the old ferry and used the profits to purchase or rent a new ferry.

A new ferry has been bought and renovations have begun, but the old ferry, m/s Saefari, has not yet been sold, the Audit Office pointed out.

“As m/s Saefari remains unsold, the Audit Office is of the opinion that the state budget permission in question has not been used yet. Therefore it must be considered very dubious that expenses worth hundreds of millions [ISK one million = USD 15,000, EUR 11,000] have taken place on the basis of this sale and disposition permission,” a statement from the Audit Office issued yesterday stated.

A statement from the Ministry of Finance was issued in response to the Audit Office’s claims, saying there is a long-standing tradition for “not only considering that the value of a certain property is to be used for financing an investment, but that Althingi is also granting a required legal authority to purchase a new property instead and paying the necessary cost following the purchase [afterwards].”

Click here to read more about the Grímsey ferry debate.

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