Written Answers. - Public Sector Imports.

Albert Reynolds

Question:

107 Mr. Reynolds asked the Minister for Finance the total amount spent by public sector purchasing on imported goods and services in 1995, outlining separately the amount spent on goods and services; and if he will give an estimate of the jobs that could be sustained by this level of annual expenditure using the IDA criteria for such an estimate. [1911/96]

Data on total public sector purchasing or imported goods and services are not available. It would be extremely difficult to secure such data in view of the wide range of goods and services involved, and the multiplicity of agencies in the public sector.

Public procurement within the State is largely delegated to local management in each procuring entity. The Government Supplies Agency does provide a central purchasing operation for some of the purchases of Government Departments and some other public entities, but it handles only a relatively small proportion of overall public sector purchases. The Government Contracts Committee also provides a centralised service to Government Departments but, generally, it only becomes involved in contracting situations which are exceptional in some way, e.g. where the lowest tender is not being recommended, and would not therefore be in a position to supply comprehensive information on public purchasing of imported goods and services.

In this circumstance it is not possible to give the estimate requested in the second part of the Deputy's question.