Treasury set to pay over millions

Bay municipality hopeful it will get withheld payment soon

A R330m equitable-share payment the national Treasury has been withholding is expected to be in the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality’s bank account by Tuesday.
This is according to Bay acting municipal manager Peter Neilson who, along with acting CFO Jackson Ngcelwane, went to meet officials from the Treasury on Thursday.
Neilson said after discussions with the Treasury he was confident the money would be
paid by Tuesday, provided he submitted a report detailing the city’s strategy on how it planned to implement its accounting system.
The Treasury held back the second equitable share allocation from the municipality after it failed to implement a new mandatory accounting system – the Municipal Standard Chart of Accounts (Mscoa) – which has to be rolled out across all municipalities.
Mscoa, which is meant to link all municipalities onto a single IT system that is linked to the national government,
has cost the metro tens of millions of rands to date.
On Friday, Neilson said the Treasury had agreed with the council resolution taken on December 4 to appoint a project manager to assess whether Sebata, the company appointed to implement the metro’s new financial system, was capable of completing the job.
“There were four documents the Treasury wanted from us and they wanted to see what we were doing that had the potential to fix our compliance and for us to be MScoa compliant.
“The Treasury is comfortable with the decision council took in December to say we can and must proceed with negotiations regarding our service provider and to restart negotiations with a project manager.
“The national Treasury will assist us in getting someone competent in managing to lead the process going forward,” Neilson said.
He said there was no leniency where the Treasury was concerned.
“It’s either in line with Mscoa or it’s not, and if it’s not there will be no assistance on
the side of equitable share from the Treasury”.
“We understand everything now in terms of our challenges, in terms of where we were, so I’m very comfortable that by the end of business on Tuesday we’d have the money,” Neilson said.
He said Treasury questioned if the metro would ever reach a level of compliance because the city had not had a service provider for the past year.
“The greatest concern for the Treasury was that we were not showing pro-activeness in terms of complying.
“We were not showing a real effort,” he said.
The city needs about R200m more to implement its Enterprise Management Solution – an internal IT system – and Mscoa and to ensure it is properly integrated.
Neilson said after appointing a project manager the city would assess the pros and cons of appointing a new service provider and also gauge Sebata’s ability to deliver.
“If we re-tender we’ll also look at the possibility of how much of the money we’ve already spent on this project we can salvage,” Neilson said.
Attempts to reach the Treasury for comment were unsuccessful...

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