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SMEs told to insist on purchase order to ensure timely payment

Wednesday 30th March - DARUSSALAM Enterprise (DARe), the statutory body recently established to monitor and nurture the growth of local enterprises in Brunei, organised two group sessions on ‘Shipping and Freight’ and ‘Late Payments’ yesterday at the Design and Technology Building, Anggerek Desa.

The sessions were part of the continuous efforts made by DARe to collect business-related suggestions and inquiries from enterprises on various issues faced by them in their respective industries.

 During the session on ‘Late Payments’, the participating enterprises raised many issues, especially the difficulty in receiving payments after completion of government projects.

Ahmaddin bin Haji Abdul Rahman, Permanent Secretary (Performance) at the Ministry of Finance, said enterprises must request for original purchase orders before commencing projects or delivery of goods or services to the relevant government agencies to ensure secure payments.

This, he said, is crucial for the full effectiveness of the invoice tracking system provided by the government’s Treasury Accounting and Financial Information System (TAFIS). This enables ministries and their departments to track the movement of invoices and monitor the performance of the payment process.

He also said that the Letter of Award (LoA) alone will not suffice for payment and SMEs must insist on a purchase order.

Ahmaddin bin Haji Abdul Rahman, Permanent Secretary (Performance) at the Ministry of Finance, speaking at the session

He went on to say that enterprises that do not show the original purchase order or indent for their goods or services will run the risk of not getting paid.

“SMEs awarded with a project must have the responsibility to ensure that they produce the PO (purchase order). Regardless of whether the projects are small or urgent, it helps mitigate the risk. Producing a PO will only takes a day or two,” Ahmaddin said, adding that “so that SME’s can secure payment from the Ministry of Finance”.

TAFIS has been completely rolled out at all ministries and departments to address issues of lost invoices and unacknowledged submitted invoices that result in late payments to enterprises involved in various government projects.

A notification slip to confirm the invoice will be provided immediately from the respective government agencies once it is successfully submitted by the enterprises.

Meanwhile, Adi Shamsul bin Haji Sabli, Permanent Secretary (Industry) at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), said that the Energy and Industry Department at the PMO will continue to work closely with ministries, government and non-government agencies locally and abroad to foster growth of business enterprises, thus increasing their contribution to the GDP.

“Through DARe, a common and more unified approach will be taken to direct, support and encourage the growth of local enterprises under a single body that is represented and driven by the private sector,” he explained.

During the session, a member of the audience suggested that instead of providing a hotline to track notification slips and document the process flow in order to ease the workload administratively, there should be a help desk in dealing with payments and other related issues.

In response to this, Ahmaddin explained that the Business Support Centre which will be launched in April is aimed at providing a one-stop hub for companies to deal with business- related processes.

Also present to gather suggestions related to the construction industry was Eddie bin Dato Paduka Haji Sunny, Permanent Secretary (Technical and Professional) at the Ministry of Development.

DARe hopes to develop local enterprises by assisting them in capacity building, facilitating access to funding, investment and access to domestic and international markets.

DARe welcomes new and existing enterprises to join for another dialogue session on the Halal industry at the Design and Technology Auditorium tonight.

Enterprises interested to know more about DARe can do so physically at the Business Helpdesk which is open from Monday to Friday on the first floor of Design and Technology Building, or contact via email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

(courtesy: Borneo Bulletin 30 March 2016)