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Sunday 31 August 2014

Small firms to get paid much quicker with state ‘credit cards’

Peter Flanagan

Published 29/01/2013 | 05:00

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At the launch were, from left, Brendan Kelly, Bank of Ireland; Paul Quinn, chief procurement officer; Minister of State Brian Hayes; Eddie Cullen, Ulster Bank; and John McGrane, Ulster Bank

Small firms to get paid much quicker with state 'credit cards'

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THE Government will pay small firms for services rendered much quicker than it does at the moment under plans revealed yesterday.

The "Framework for the Supply of Purchasing Cards" will see procurement managers in the public sector given the use of what is effectively a credit card to pay suppliers for small pieces of work with an average value of €350.

The scheme, which was unveiled by procurement minister Brian Hayes, will see these small suppliers paid within four days and free up an estimated €200m of funds which currently have to be invoiced and processed by each department.

The Government estimates about half a million of these invoices will be cleared using the new scheme outlined.

Mr Hayes said the plan would streamline the procurement system across government.

"The use of these purchasing cards will eliminate the need to process individual low value invoices as they will be consolidated into a single monthly electronic statement supported by detailed reports.

"This will lead to real and substantive administrative efficiencies," he added. The purchasing card works in the same way as a credit card. Procurement managers will use the card to make payments to suppliers quickly.

The state will then settle the bill with Ulster Bank and Bank of Ireland, who are backing the scheme, at a later date.

The card is available across the non-commercial public sector. That includes government departments, local authorities, the gardai, and the Defence Forces. It does not, however, include semi-state companies such as Bord Gais.

Irish Independent

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