Panama Canal Commission--Certification of Revenue Estimate for Fiscal Year 1980

ID-80-08: Published: Oct 26, 1979. Publicly Released: Oct 26, 1979.

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The Panama Canal Act of 1979 requires the Comptroller General to certify the estimated revenues to be deposited in the Panama Canal Commission's fund as estimated by the Secretary of Defense at the time the budget for such fiscal year is submitted to Congress. Since the Act does not provide any criteria for GAO to use in certifying the revenues to be deposited in the Panama Canal Fund in the Treasury, the review of fiscal year 1980 estimates consisted of testing the computations and reviewing the method of compiling the estimates and forecasts.

The revenue estimated for fiscal year 1980 from all sources to be deposited in the Panama Canal Commission Fund totaled $463.9 million, and included $71.2 million in Panama Canal Company funds remaining unexpended on September 30, 1979. These are required to be deposited into the Commission fund and will be available to the Commission. To develop the forecast of Canal traffic and toll revenues for fiscal 1980, the Commission used aggregative economic forecasting techniques combined with statistical analysis and economic judgement. Disaggregative techniques were used for commodities for which economic changes are expected. Because the forecast of toll revenues for a given year is based on assumptions and estimates, the reliability of which depends on future events beyond the control of the Commission, there could be a significant variance from actual results. Non-toll revenue estimates were developed by the Commission beginning with the latest estimates of these revenues for fiscal 1979 and adjusting these amounts with revenue variations expected during fiscal 1980. It is the opinion of GAO that the revenues projected by the Commission for fiscal 1980 appear to be reasonable.

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