28 November 2007

Faster payments as public sector improves delivery


PUTRAJAYA: The success of the government in cutting payment time has made the public sector comparable with the private sector on standards globally.

This came a year after all federal and state agencies were instructed to ensure that payments to staff and service providers be reduced from 30 to 14 working days.

In a statement, Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan said the success required discipline and renewed commitment from those involved.

"It is our role as business enablers of the economy to ease the burden of service providers where applicable.

"This move is imperative to ensure our market remains relevant and competitive to local and foreign investors."
The statement said from Nov 1, last year, clear and succinct turnaround times were set for all agencies.

As a result, the process for resolving invoices, bills and claims had been set at two days for cost centres, seven days for the responsible offices while paying offices have to close all payments in five working days.

In October, state level offices were able to close 41,655 invoices amounting to RM611.9 million within the revised payment time.

In the same period, 93.6 per cent of invoices amounting to RM3.6 billion met the 14-day deadline in all 28 ministries while 62.3 per cent were able to pay invoices within seven days.

The Prime Minister's Department closed 36,453 invoices amounting to RM483.6 million in the same period, with 75.9 per cent of the amount being paid within seven days.

Sidek said what was needed was the setting of new standards which required the people concerned in the supply chain meeting the government's key performance indicators.

"When we all do what we are supposed to do, the picture will no longer be a puzzle."

Contractors who failed to receive payments within the payment time could send their complaints to sidek@pmo.gov.my.

At the Prime Minister's Department's Quality Day in the morning, Sidek said government service agencies in the Klang Valley would be linked online for information sharing and easier transactions with the public.

He said the eKL Initiative would be introduced to suit the lifestyles and online connectivity of clients in the Klang Valley.

"The eKL project will allow government service agencies to be integrated and communicate with one another to share information and expertise.

"For the public, it will facilitate payment, making complaints or enquiries, and obtaining information."

Sidek also directed all agencies, beginning with those under the PM's Department, to conduct customer satisfaction surveys.

"It is important to know the extent to which clients are happy with our service and to identify room for improvement

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