The Federal Government failed to pay one in every three bills on time last year, registering late payments on 266,626 invoices amounting to a total of 1.6 billion euros, Het Nieuwsblad reported on Monday. The figures show that in 2016, it took an average 44 days to be paid while, in 2017, the waiting time jumped to 56 days. The 1.6 billion euros in late payments was 42 million euros higher than in 2016.
The Justice Department is the worst payer, settling 2 out of every 3 bills late, with the highest waiting time being 118 days. “It’s unheard of and unsustainable,” commented Open Vld parliamentarian Carina Van Cauter. “Justice is the backbone of the rule of law, and it should be granted sufficient resources.”
The delayed payments cost the Federal Government 6.5 million euros in late fees, of which 5.8 million were for the Justice Department.