10/28/2014 01:19 EDT | Updated 12/28/2014 05:59 EST

Nova Scotia government aims to centralize purchase of services and supplies

HALIFAX - The Nova Scotia government is aiming to cut costs by centralizing the purchase of supplies and services.

Internal Services Minister Labi Kousoulis said the Shared Services Act introduced Tuesday would result in savings of up to $60 million annually once it is fully implemented, something that is expected to take up to five years.

The changes would see construction projects worth more than $1 million, financial services, information technology services and building management for departments, health authorities and school boards centralized mainly through his department and two others.

Kousoulis said the changes would also result in the elimination of about 200 jobs over five to six years, mainly through attrition.

"We are looking at displacing no one. As we have people retire out of the civil service then we will look at eliminating some positions."

Kousoulis said half of the potential savings would come through centralizing procurement alone, which would be done through his department.

"Some departments were better at negotiating contracts than other departments," said Kousoulis. "By pulling all contracts into one department we can start going to the contracts that have the lowest prices."

As an example, he said an internal study found the province could have saved $1 million through the bulk purchase of pacemakers instead of having the district health authorities place individual orders.

School boards would remain responsible for their own human resources and building management but would eventually use the government's information technology services, which is currently under development.