Remarks at a Meeting of the Cabinet Council on Management and Administration

August 4, 1983

Interest on the public debt will cost the American taxpayer over $103 billion in fiscal 1984. One of the major efforts initiated by my administration to reduce this drain is the improvement of the Government's cash management. Cash management has become a highly specialized art practiced by most major corporations and small businesses in America. In fact, most individuals have learned to manage their checkbooks to even out the flow of expenses and income. The Federal Government is just beginning to learn this lesson.

Better cash management is one of our key priorities under Reform 88. It also has been highlighted by the President's Private Sector Survey, the Department of the Treasury, and the Office of Management and Budget. The Department of the Treasury fiscal service is spearheading initiatives to speed the collection process, to time our payments properly, and to improve cash processing and financial management practices.

We are currently putting a great deal of effort into this area. From January 1981 to May 1983, the Government realized $4.6 billion in savings, resulting from more efficient cash management practices. This has been accomplished by using modern technology, such as electronic transfer of funds, as well as improved management techniques. Nevertheless, we are only just getting started. Twenty agencies and departments have developed detailed cash management improvement plans. These plans have been approved by the Secretary of the Treasury and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget. Potential savings of $5.3 billion in interest expense have been identified by these agencies through fiscal '88, as well as an average annual cash acceleration savings of $4 billion during the same period.

Efficient cash management is not a one-time issue which will fade away. It must be part of a continuous effort to better manage our resources. The active cooperation of every governmental organization is required. Government executives must be made aware of how they can improve cash management practices within their areas of responsibility, supported, if necessary, by developmental training and performance-based incentives. Efficient cash management has to be a joint, cooperative effort to manage better this most critical part of the public trust.

I am therefore today directing you to take advantage of each opportunity to protect our cash resources and to continue to review your cash management programs to ensure they meet that end. You should be prepared to work closely with the Treasury Department and the Office of Management and Budget to implement measurable savings and to give cash management projects a high priority.

Note: The President met in the Cabinet Room at the White House with the Cabinet Council at 2 p.m.

As printed above, this item follows the text of the President's prepared remarks as released by the Office of the Press Secretary.