New system for KZN supply chain

2010-03-05 00:00

KWAZULU-NATAL Treasury and the Office of the Premier have developed a system that will eliminate fraud in the provincial government’s supply chain management “to give us value for money”.

Finance MEC Ina Cronjé made this announcement when she presented the provincial budget of more than R70 billion, termed “do more for less”, to the provincial legislature in Pietermaritzburg yesterday.

“The new system will provide all departments with the most current prices of all items. The price list will be updated on a daily basis and officials who procure goods and services above market-clearing prices will have to explain why.”

Before the system is introduced, the government will conduct an expenditure analysis throughout the province to identify the most frequently procured goods and services, annual spending on the items across government and who the main suppliers are.

An aspect of the system also entails the renegotiation of all provincial contracts to ensure value for money.

“We envisage that the system will be finalised during the 2010/2011 financial year. It is also about time government becomes a price maker, not a price taker given the size of its procurement expenditure,” said Cronjé.

Meanwhile, among the 12 nationally provided measurable outcomes, education and health received the lion’s share of the provincial budget, with allocations of R33,2 billion and R25,1 billion respectively.

Cronjé said the increase, by 3,5%, in the portion of the budget devoted to education, from last year’s R26 billion, will give effect to government’s aim to improve the quality of education. “A total of 1 465 882 learners at our public schools in KwaZulu-Natal are expected to benefit from the no-fee policy by 2012/13.

“There are currently 3 382 no-fee schools in the province, including farm schools, and this programme is going to be extended to quintile 3 schools in the 2010/11 financial year.”

Schools from quintiles three to five that enrol learners from poor backgrounds will be reimbursed, while the school-feeding scheme will be extended to secondary schools in quintile two, an increase to cover 1,8 million pupils in 2010/11 and 2,1 million pupils by 2012.

The budget increase for the Health Department will provide for the treatment of 33 918 308 people at primary healthcare facilities by 2012/2013.

The total number of patients receiving antiretrovirals is set to double, from 335 148 during the 2009/10 financial year to 695 557 by 2012/13.

The Office of the Premier was the only department whose budget allocation decreased, by 5,4%, from R435,7 million during the 2009/10 financial year to R425,3 million this financial year. This is due to the fact that the full soccer development allocation has been moved to the Sport and Recreation Department from 2011/12.

The budget for the Royal Household increased from R40,6 million to R48,5 million in 2012/13. It was also revealed that it is going to be incorporated into the Office of the Premier.

Cronjé further announced that cost-cutting measures, adopted during the presentation of the last budget, will remain in place — at least until the provincial overdraft has been fully repaid.

Among the cost-cutting measures implemented by the province are the freezing of all posts (except in exceptional circumstances) and the rationalisation of overseas trips. The practice of catering for meetings has been stopped, as has the purchase of promotional items such as T-shirts and caps. No performance bonuses will be paid from 2010/11.

Strict overtime control measures have been introduced, and the policy on subsidised vehicles for officials is being reviewed.

The MEC said the cost-cutting measures are producing tremendous results, as no department has failed to implement them.

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