25 July 2008 | Jake Kanter
The Irish government is set to reform public sector procurement in a bid to save at least ?50 million (£39.7 million) by 2009.
Brian Lenihan, minister for finance, announced the plans this month in reaction to a "downturn" in the country's economy. He called on the minister of state Martin Mansergh to lead the project, which will see officials from the Office of Public Works and the Department of Finance produce a joint savings plan by the autumn.
The government spends about ?10 billion (£7.9 billion) on goods and services each year and Mansergh believes that adopting more efficient purchasing techniques and aggregating spend could result in "substantial" savings. He will develop proposals around products and services such as IT, consultancy, fuels and stationery.
Mansergh said there must be strong and qualified buyers working within public sector procurement teams. He added that purchasers should have a good understanding of the market and the ability to use "hard-nosed" techniques in a competitive environment.
"I will be critically looking at public expenditure on procurement across a wide range of sectors. I have no doubt that at least ?50 million of savings will be identified by the autumn," the minister said.