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State should pay young suppliers promptly

By The Standard | August 4th 2016

Thousands of young entrepreneurs are reeling from heavy losses as a result of delayed settlements on supplies delivered to the State. Many took loans to pay for the goods they supplied. But for many months, payments did not come through and the expected profits have been wiped away by the mounting interest loaded onto the initial bank loans.

It is common to find would-be government suppliers under the Youth Access to Government Procurement Opportunities (Yagpo) initiative swearing not to do business with the State. They are disillusioned by the very initiative that promised so much.

Delays in payments have taken away everything that the initiative was expected to be; ring-fencing a portion of government tenders to the young, women and disabled in society.

It was the only way that these disadvantaged groups could play side by side with the established and deep-pocketed men who dominate Public Procurement transactions. While various reasons have been given for the delays in settling suppliers' dues, the Tuesday Cabinet meeting that approved the fast-tracking of payments to Yagpo suppliers should have come in earlier.

It is however not too late for the presidential intervention in releasing the billions owed, if only to restore faith among the vulnerable population.

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