New system to ensure service providers are paid on time

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Pretoria - National Treasury has set up a system to track government departments' compliance with the provision of paying service providers within the 30-day period as stipulated in the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA).

Minister in the Presidency for Performance Monitoring and Evaluation, Collins Chabane, on Thursday said Cabinet had received a progress report on the payment of service providers within the 30-day period, and government was still testing the system, which would ensure service providers were paid on time.

"We are satisfied with the responses received from departments on utilising the system. We are still testing the system and we will in due course give more accurate reporting on the payment of suppliers," said Chabane following Cabinet's fortnightly meeting.

Government had learnt of complaints emanating from the public, particularly business owners, that payments had been delayed.

"There are various reasons for this. For example, there might be disputes with the invoices," said Chabane, adding that previously, there was no system to track the payment of outstanding invoices.

"[This now] gives us a step ahead in dealing with that matter."

Chabane said the next step was to ensure that invoices were correctly captured and paid accordingly.

The minister urged service providers with outstanding invoices to visit the relevant departments for assistance.

"The reasons for non-payment vary from place to place. We hope that with the implementation of this system from next year, we will be able to improve because we will be tracking this on a monthly basis.

"We won't be waiting for complaints from service providers; we will be able to follow up with the relevant departments [as to why] these invoices have not been paid. They will have to provide reasons," explained Chabane.

Cabinet also announced it had approved that all accounting officers and chief financial officers should have this as a deliverable in their performance agreements from 2013/14 when the system is implemented. -