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Newfoundland and Labrador auditor general raises concerns about finances

Newfoundland Finance Minister Tom Marshall blames the province’s financial shortfall on its reliance on the unpredictable offshore oil industry.

RHONAD HAYWARD/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Newfoundland and Labrador's auditor general is raising concerns about the province's finances.

Terry Paddon tabled a report today with the provincial legislature on the 2012-13 fiscal year outlining areas he says need to be monitored.

Paddon says the provincial government should watch the sustainability of program expenditures and its unfunded pension liability.

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He also says close monitoring of the Muskrat Falls project will be required to ensure equity requirements resulting from cost overruns are minimized.

The province recorded a deficit of $195-million for the last fiscal year, with a deficit of $451-million forecast for this year.

Provincial net debt increased by $511-million to $8.3-billion last year, and Paddon says this year's deficit will push that higher.

Finance Minister Tom Marshall says the government's goal is to ensure the long-term sustainability of programs and services.

Marshall says the government will oversee the work on construction of Muskrat Falls to ensure it minimizes risk to taxpayers and ratepayers.

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