8% of payments made by Government Departments, valued at €1.25bn, paid to suppliers within 15 days

Mr. John Perry, T.D. Minister for Small Business, today (Wednesday) published the latest set of quarterly composite figures, which show that Government Departments and the Agencies under the auspices of the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation continue to comply with the Government requirement to pay business suppliers within 15 days of receiving a valid invoice.

The 2012 Quarter 4 figures show that Government Departments made a total of 62,013 payments in Quarter 4 amounting to €1.28bn.

Welcoming the continuing high levels of payments by all Government Departments and the Agencies under the aegis of his Department Minister Perry said:  “Any disruption to cash flow, particularly for small businesses, can mean the difference between solvency and bankruptcy. Therefore, it is vitally important, that small businesses continue to be paid on time.

“Of the 62,013 payments made in this quarter, a total of 49,604 payments valued at €1.25bn were paid within 15 days. This represents 98% in value terms of payments made by Departments, an increase of 5% over the previous quarterly figures. This clearly demonstrates the Government’s commitment to be an exemplar in terms of prompt payment in Ireland.

“However, the issue of late payment is not just an Irish problem, it is a European-wide problem.  To combat this issue, the Commission has adopted Directive 2011/7/EU, known as the Late Payment Directive on 16 February, 2011. The proposed legislation will act as a deterrent to late payment and a driver for payment on time by establishing a clear expectation in law that payment will be made according to agreed terms that creditors will not be penalised financially when paid late and debtors will not benefit. This Directive came into force on 15 March, 2012 and must be transposed into Irish Law by 16 March, 2013.

“Both myself and Minister Bruton recently spoke at a seminar hosted by the Commission in Dublin to raise awareness of the issue of late payments in Europe and Ireland. This seminar was part of a pan-European information campaign, focused on ensuring key Irish stakeholders, SMEs and business leaders learnt of the current legal framework of the Late Payments Directive, an understanding of its applications and benefits, as well as practical examples of how best to implement them to support their businesses.

“My Department will build on the success of this seminar by developing a national information campaign to promote prompt payments in 2013. In addition, we are assisting business representative bodies to develop a Prompt Payments Code of Conduct. Initiatives such as this will improve compliance with the legislation in place and assist the transition to a culture of prompt payment in Ireland.

Minister Perry concluded. “I believe the combination of the 15 day prompt payment rule, together with the implementation of the Late Payment Directive, represents significant progress on the issue of prompt payments in Ireland and thereby contributes significantly to the competitiveness of enterprises and employment and growth”.