Nova Scotians are getting better value for their tax dollars as the province improves the quality of how it procures fleet and transportation, information technology devices and office supplies. An ongoing review of spending and purchases across government departments, Nova Scotia school boards and the Nova Scotia Housing Development Corporation identified potential savings of up to $11 million for the 2013-14 fiscal year. “Nova Scotians expect government to make smart, efficient purchases, to save money where possible, while improving the quality of goods and services for Nova Scotia families,” said Deputy Premier Frank Corbett. “A better and improved procurement process will support Nova Scotia’s business community and encourage sustainable economic development.” The province has identified savings in how it buys vehicles, heavy equipment, parts, bulk fuel, office supplies and information technology. Requests for proposals will be issued this month in the following business areas, which will bring significant savings: printers office supplies laptops and desktops IT contingent labour heavy and light duty vehicles heavy equipment parts bulk fuel a new fleet-card management tool will be used to record accurate spending and create fuel and maintenance discounts “We are excited to be working with the province to create savings and efficiencies for our purchases, which will have a lasting impact on our operations,” says Ambrose White, superintendent for the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board. “The savings we experience through this process will go directly toward students and programs, and help to improve the quality of goods and services we deliver.” These savings are being identified through the Strategic Procurement Project, which should bring more savings across government and the public sector when complete in February 2013.The province spends about $1 billion annually on goods and services. Regional models will become part of procurement to ensure all companies across Nova Scotia can compete for government business. This project is the latest of a number of strategies by government to live within its means. Others include ending excessive end-of-year spending, holding the line on overall spending, reducing debt-servicing costs, shared services and implementing the change and innovation fund. For more information about these business areas and to see the request for proposals, visit http://business.novascotia.ca/en/home/default.aspx or www.gov.ns.ca/tenders/home.aspx.
A COURT WILL hear Oscar Pistorius’s bail application next Tuesday.The hearing was postponed today to give the defence team and the State more time to gather evidence. Both sides agreed to the delay.Magistrate Desmond Nair also ruled that cameras would not be allowed to film the proceedings.At the start of today’s hearing, the Paralympian broke down in tears with one local reporter stating he ‘sobbed uncontrollably’. The emotion came after an initial state of calm confidence, according to witnesses.When he entered the box he was visibly shaking and the judge told him to “calm down…you need to relax”.Pistorius had his head bowed as the charge was read out. He stands accused of murdering his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in the early hours of St Valentine’s Day.She was shot four times in the upper body and head with a 9mm pistol.It is understood that Pistorius will remain in custody until the hearing on Tuesday, 19 February. He will be held in a police station cell and not prison. The athlete’s lawyers asked for him to be kept in a police cell because of the high-profile nature of the case but the magistrate expressed concern this would be showing preferential treatment. However, the State did not oppose the arrangement.In an important revelation, prosecutors made it clear they were going to pursue a pre-meditated murder charge.According to eNCA, the sprinter cried and “his whole body reacted” on hearing that news.“The State isn’t buying any suggestion that this killing was an accident,” the station’s reporter added.On the other side, the defence has asked for a schedule five, and not schedule six, application. For a Schedule 6 offence, the accused has to give evidence to satisfy the court that exceptional circumstances exist in which the interests of justice permit his release. For a Schedule 5 offence, the accused has to present evidence to satisfy the court that the interests of justice permit his release.Oscar Pistorius’ brother Carl outside the Boschkop police station. (Image: Kobus van Rensburg/EMPICS Entertainment)The Pretoria court room was packed with members of the public and media personnel today.Dressed in a dark blue suit and covering his face, the 26-year-old was surrounded by family when being escorted from Boschkop police station.The athlete became the first amputee to compete in the Olympics at London 2012 having previously enjoyed significant success at the Paralympic Games.He won gold in the 4×400 relay at the most recent Paralympic event in London last year.A congenital condition meant he had to have both legs amputated below the knee before he was aged one. Last year he was named by Time magazine as one of the world’s 100 most influential people.Earlier: Oscar Pistorius arrives in court to face girlfriend murder charges