Provision to allow 20% of public procurement to small businesses coming on stream by next year – Business Minister

The execution of a provision in the Small Business Act which allows for small businesses to get 20 percent of Government contracts, is a moving a step closer to fruition, now that the Small Business Bureau’s appointed Council is on stream.
This is according to the Minister of Business, Dominic Gaskin, during a recently held Press Conference hosted at the Alliance for Change (AFC)’s Headquarters in Kitty, East Coast Demerara.
The Small Business Council was appointed a month ago. It comprises the Chief Executive Officer of the Small Business Bureau, representatives of the Ministry of Business, Ministry of Finance, Linden Chamber of Commerce, Berbice Chamber of Commerce, Guyana Small Business Association, Guyana Craft Producer Association, Institute of Private Enterprise Development, Guyana Banker’s Association, and two Small Business owners.
The council is mandated to implement the provisions of the Small Business Act of 2004,
The Minister said that the Council has already met twice and is enthusiastic and energetic. Gaskin said that he has full confidence in the body carrying out its functions.
“One area we see that will benefit small businesses over the next year or two is our realisation of the provision in the Small Business Act that has to do with 20 percent of Public Procurement going to small businesses – that is in the area of goods and services,” the Minister said.
He added that the implementation and enforcement of this provision was never “really” effected by the past Administration – the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C).
The Minister said that it was, in fact, being ignored.
“We have made a commitment to develop a programme – which is also required under the Act. This programme is designed to implement that petition and we have to plan to have that programme in place by the end of the year which can actually be implemented the next year. We believe that will create opportunities for small businesses to access Government spending and we also feel that will be a major impact on small businesses in Guyana,” Gaskin stated.
Meanwhile, for years, small contractors have been complaining about not being incorporated into the Public Procurement Process. Many have also claimed that they have been unfairly treated.
It was announced a few weeks ago that Government will be looking to ensure that 20 percent of all Government contracts be awarded to small contractors yearly, as is stated in the Laws of Guyana. Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, has made this revelation at one of the Post -Cabinet Press Briefing. He had also stated that the Government will be looking not only to ensure but also, enforce this very important law.

extracted from Kaieteur News, September 25, 2016