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Vienna, 26 September 2011 Finance minister Fekter congratulates Federal Procurement Agency on "ten years of saving for the republic" Central purchasing saves the public budget EUR 200 million annually, with a EUR 1 billion reduction in expenditure achievable within three years

How administrative reform is taking shape step by step, is evident from the example of federal procurement. The central purchasing of goods and services via the company Bundesbeschaffung GmbH (the Federal Procurement Agency, or BBG), set up in 2001, has saved the Republic of Austria, the regional states and local authorities EUR 1 billion to date. More recently, the figure has indeed been an annual sum of c. EUR 200 million. The Federal Minister wishes to congratulate both managing directors, Andreas Nemec and Hannes Hofer, as well as the employees of Bundesbeschaffung GmbH, on their extraordinary success.

These gratifying savings can, with a determined will, be multiplied fivefold within around three years to EUR 1 billion a year," stressed Federal Finance Minister Dr. Maria Fekter on the occasion of the ten-year anniversary of Bundesbeschaffung GmbH at a joint press conference held in Vienna.

The key lies with the individual ministries, but above all also with the regional states and local authorities, as well as in the healthcare sector."

The Federal Procurement Agency buys goods and services for the federal government in 31 procurement categories, via professional tender procedures. It also offers its services to hived-off agencies (e.g. Asfinag [the primary road network agency], Bundesforste [Austrian Federal Forests], the Bundesrechenzentrum [Austrian Federal Computing Centre], universities, etc.), the healthcare sector, as well as the regional states and local authorities.

For public contracting authorities, processing their purchases via the Federal Procurement Agency very often means better purchasing terms, while for the contractor it means fairness and predictability, planning certainty in processing and thereby lower costs. Such contracts are 100% transparent; from the call for tenders to awarding of contracts, each stage is documented. Arrangements with contractors, or preferential treatment, are both excluded.

In 2010, BBG processed purchases in a volume of EUR 886 million, and in 2011 the volume will be over EUR 900 million.

Mag. Andreas Nemec, managing director of BBG, showed the importance of modern management methods in public-sector purchasing using the example of four procurement categories:

-For instance, the Interior Ministry, Finance Ministry, the regional government of Upper Austria and the Employment Market Service all operate vehicle fleet management operations which are optimized in line with criteria applied in the private sector. The effect is that over 4,000 vehicles, including the servicing, maintenance, purchase and sale of used vehicles, generate only half the costs of the official mileage allowance.

-"e- Reisen": All ministries buy their flight tickets via an online ordering system. With 10,000 tickets per year, the annual savings total EUR 2.5 million. A gratifying additional effect is that employees use the benefits of cost-effective economy tariffs far more than before (85% instead of 50% of all trips).

-The procurement of modern VoIP telephones plus central servers for several ministries cut costs by c. 40%. The units are suitable for future efficient processing of video conferences, which will render many business trips unnecessary.

-A particularly impressive example of efficient purchasing comes from the healthcare sector; the joint purchase of medical gases saves the regional government of Upper Austria two thirds of its previous costs.