Obama pledges to fix ''broken system'' of US government buying

5 March 2009

5 March 2009 | Martha McKenzie-Minifie

US president Barack Obama yesterday spelt out plans to save $40 billion a year through improved government procurement.

Detailing what he described as "overspends", "inefficiencies" and examples of "outright fraud" he vowed to "reform our broken system of government contracting".

He added: "We are spending money on things we don't need and we're paying more than we need to pay.

"Far too often the spending is plagued by massive cost overruns, outright fraud, and the absence of oversight and accountability. In some cases, contracts are awarded without competition."

In a speech assessing overall spend Obama singled out the military sector, warning that: "The days of giving defence contractors a blank cheque are over."

The US Government Accountability Office had examined 95 major defence projects last year, he said, and found $295 billion in cost overruns.

He also vowed to limit government outsourcing. "We will stop outsourcing services that should be performed by government, and open up the contracting to small business."

The president said new guidelines for US government contracting were expected by September.

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