Government departments and State agencies must pay their suppliers promptly during the Covid-19 emergency to help firms with their cash flow.

That is according to Chambers Ireland, which said the Government needs to show leadership in this regard in order to encourage others to do the same.

A survey of 1,100 members of Chambers Ireland's nationwide network found that a third of respondents were experiencing situations where State bodies were taking more than 15 days to settle invoices.

While the majority of Government organisations are promptly paying, Chambers Ireland said more need to follow.

"Cash is king, as the saying goes, and we’ve been calling on businesses in our Network who can pay their bills, to pay their bills," said Chambers Ireland Chief Executive Ian Talbot.

"Cash flow has been identified as a significant problem for businesses since the start of the crisis. Unless we can keep money moving in the economy, we risk exacerbating and prolonging the impacts of the recession to come," he added.

The business organisation wants the Government to make a statement on the matter and to show leadership by calling for bills to be paid on time.