Thursday, 21 May 2009
Dáil Eireann Debate
178. Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the average time, as of the end of April 2009, for payments to be made by his Department and each individual agency of his Department to outside businesses in respect of goods and services received; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20872/09]
Minister for Foreign Affairs (Deputy Micheál Martin): As the Deputy will be aware, payment of invoices by this Department is governed by the provisions of the Prompt Payment of Accounts Act, 1997 as amended by the European Communities (Late Payment in Commercial Transactions) Regulations 2002. The Act, which came into force in January 1998, provided for the payment of interest on invoices which are unpaid after 45 days from date of receipt. In August 2002, the point at which interest becomes due was reduced to 30 days.
While there are no figures available to establish the average time for payments made by my Department, its payment procedures are designed to avoid undue delay in the processing and payment of valid invoices. Every effort is made to make payments within the 30 day period, and the Department is generally successful in this.
The number of late payments in each year represents a very small part of the total number of payments made. For example, in 2008, my Department made over 11,000 payments in Ireland, of which only 18 were late payments under the terms of the Acts mentioned above, less than 0.2% of the total payments made.
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