Thursday 2020-02-27

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SIX MORE WEEKS WAIT FOR GOVT SUPPLIERS, SERVICE PROVIDERS

By Qondile Ntiwane | 2020-02-09

Suppliers and service providers owed by government will have to wait six more weeks to get paid.

Minister of Finance Neal Rijkenberg said yesterday that the office of the Auditor General and the Office of Internal Audit had been given more time to re-do the verification task which is expected to take an estimated six weeks hence appealing for a further extension of time for the task and payment of suppliers and service providers.

The minister stated that the initial stock of arrears was E4.2bn as calculated at the end of March 2019 and that this figure had declined to E2.2bn after the verification exercise, of which 50 per cent was for the capital programme and the balance is recurrent expenditure. He said the public had been expectant about the results of this exercise with the delays causing some frustrations and anxiety.

 

“In the process, the ministry has received several unconfirmed allegations that this verified E2.2bn is still flawed with inaccuracies. This has therefore necessitated that further work be done to give assurance that the owed amounts are authentic and accurate,” he said.

The initial verification exercise included issuing an invitation to suppliers and service providers for submission of all unpaid invoices and certificates.

Once these were received, they were scrutinised and confirmed by the various ministries and departments, where in some cases, certain inconsistencies were identified.

In an attempt to address the matter, in November, the ministry of finance tabled a loan facility bill which was debated in both houses of parliament and adopted.

The bill was called the African Export-Import (AFREXIM) Bank (Term Loan Facility for clearance of arrears) Bill, 2019.

The object of the bill was to authorise the minister of finance to raise a loan not exceeding E2 billion from the AFREXIM Bank for the provision of a loan facility to clear arrears and for incidental matters.

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