How much money do you think government spends on travel each year?

We’ll give you a clue… it’s not just millions.

While the president made it clear in this year’s SONA that travel expenditure on behalf of government will be cut, there’s still the last financial year to account for and; combined with general government subsistence allowances, the total comes to around R10 billion.

That’s right folks, R10 billion for national and provincial government employees’ travel and living expenses… excluding salaries.

National Treasury released the figures, which include R4.5 billion spent on domestic travel expenses alone.

“Currently, procurement of the service is fragmented across all government entities resulting in duplication of effort and different pricing models,” Treasury reported.

“There are more than 40 travel agents doing business with the state and R1 billion a year is spent on commission. Of the R1 billion three travel agents receive collectively R550 million in commission annually.”

Add to that, that these travel agents don’t negotiate discounts with government and you can clearly see how our tax money fattens up a few extra chickens.

 “Further, in the absence of a national travel policy, travel behaviour is not efficiently controlled,” the national department responsible for government finances said.

As of April 1, however, government will implement a national travel policy governing all public sector travel.

  • A standard remuneration model for travel agents will be introduced
  • A panel of qualified travel agents will be put in place
  • Negotiated corporate air travel rates will be introduced
  • Centrally negotiated hotel and lodging rates will be put in place
  • A central contract for car hire and shuttle services will be implemented; and
  • Further work will be done on the Travel and Accommodation strategy to include services such as a conference management system, approved tour operators and coach and bus hire.

The idea behind these measures is to lessen the possibility of corruption and the hope is that a total of R25 billion can be saved in the next three years, according to a report by BusinessTech.

Over the next three years, a total of R1.5 trillion will be spent on the procurement of goods, services and work; according to a report by the office of the chief procurement office.

 “This is an enormous amount of money. Wisely and efficiently spent, it can be a great force for good.”

“Efficiently and  cost  effectively  managed  public  procurement  can, through  intelligent strategic procurement strategies, accelerate quality delivery of services and at the same  time contribute to economic growth.”