The Guard

The Truth On Board

Progress made in timely paying of SMMEs – Brown

By Libuseng Nyaka

BLOEMFONTEIN – Treasury MEC Gadija Brown has expressed satisfaction with the progress made to pay smmes and service providers on time.
Brown said this when delivering the Free State budget for the coming financial year.
She attributed the progress to the roadshows the department embarked on across the province to provide on-going support and a platform for suppliers to register challenges late or non-payments of their invoices.

“I would like to address the budget as a tool to advance the Free State economy, the matter of paying our service providers on time remains important for this government and failure to adhere to this requirement is detrimental to our SMMEs.
“I am happy to indicate that the number of invoices older than 30 days declined from 61 497 (with the value of R4.834 billion) in 2019/20 to 41 325 (with the value of R3.227 billion) in 2022/23.”

Brown also referred to the introduction of the Public Procurement Bill in the National Assembly on 30 June 2023 and passed by National Assembly in December 2023 as another move to empower smmes to do business with government.

“We welcome the transformation objectives of the Bill which provides for transformation measures through pre-qualification and advancement of persons disadvantaged by unfair discrimination.

“The legislation seeks to provide access to persons including small enterprises owned by black people, black women, black youth, black people with disabilities, and enterprises within a particular geographical area including enforcement of transformation through the BBBEE level status.

“As outlined by the Minister, it also makes provision for local industrialisation through designations and measures for sustainable development, labour absorption and enterprise development, amongst others. The province is committed to meeting the legislative supply chain prescripts for fair equitable and transparent market. This brings us to the review of the governance imperatives over this term.”

Another notable improvement announced by Brown is the provincial PFMA audit outcomes during the sixth Administration, which showed significant improvements from the 2018/19 financial year to the 2022/23 financial year.

“We achieved four clean audits at the end of the 2022/23 financial year compared to only 1 (Housing Fund) at the end of 2018/19. For the 2022/23 financial year, legislature, provincial treasury, fleet management, and the housing fund obtained a clean audit status.

FS treasury MEC Gadija Brown.

“It furthermore needs to be mentioned that over the term of this administration, eight PFMA auditees improved their audit outcomes while the province had no disclaimer audit opinion at the end of the 2022-2023 financial year.”

The number of Disclaimer/Adverse/Qualified Audit Report paragraphs for PFMA Auditees reduced with 55% from 47 (2018/19) to 21 (2022/23) while the number of non-compliance with legislation paragraphs in the Audit Reports reduced with 35% from 207 (2018/19) to 135 (2022/23).

“We will continue to work hand in hand with departments and entities to improve their audit outcomes for the 2023/2024 financial year. We have made progress regarding the strengthening of good governance and sound financial management practices in the provincial sphere of government.”