Tuesday 20 February 2018

State squanders billions by paying double the going rate

Nick Webb and Shane Ross

AS the average family saw more than €2,000 wiped off its income by a savage Budget, further evidence emerged that State bodies have been squandering taxpayers' money by paying twice the going rate for items such as stationery.

The Public Accounts Committee found that public bodies are paying between 2 per cent to more than 100 per cent more for simple items such as paper, than in available deals through the National Procurement Service.

The State gets little value for money through haphazard procurement policies. Some €69m worth of contracts for good and services did not go out to tender in 2009.

In recent weeks, the Sunday Independent has highlighted the extraordinary way that government departments spend our money on running their operations.

The revelations included details of spending on Christmas trees, toasters and stress-management courses at the Department of Finance. We also showed how the Department was spending three times the going rate for 80-gram paper.

Earlier this year, former Finance Minister Ray MacSharry estimated about 5 per cent of government spending was wasteful. That's close to €2.5bn -- more than all the money that will be brought in by tax hikes in last week's Budget.

'Wasters' by Shane Ross and Nick Webb, published by Penguin, is in all good bookshops now

Sunday Independent

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