Procurement bill amendments must fix brief-case companies- Analyst

Institute for Public Policy Research’s (IPPR) associate researcher and ACTION Coalition chairperson Frederico Links said, despite an outcry from the SMEs over the amended Public Procurement Act, the amendments are rightly designed to kick out fly-by-night businesses from getting anywhere closer to government tenders.

This follows The Villager having broken the story of a horde of small scale businesses crying out to government to relax its stringent procurement requirements as they were elbowing them out from landing government tenders.

Although the Roads Authority is yet to make its voice heard in the ongoing debate, Links suggested that the amendments are best left as they are to spur accountability and efficiency.

“All those things that they complained about is actually to force small businesses to create a business track record and that’s a good thing. The point is also for small businesses not to think that, from the beginning they can get a tender from government without having a track record as a business,” he submitted.

He said government had thus taken a noble stance to discourage any one from opening a business for the purpose of just getting a tender while SMEs have to go back and re-think the way of doing business.

“They should actually set up a proper business with proper structures with a list of products because that’s also required and do business for a few years before actually tendering for government contracts. That’s exactly what they are supposed to do.”

“It’s not for someone who thinks they can start a business today and tender tomorrow without anybody knowing what is your business track record. So their complaints should actually not be entertained,” said Links.

Links said the new Act means that it will be business unusual in the tendering space: “You need to prove that you have a cash-flow, you need to prove that you have clients and that’s a good thing. It disqualifies these fly-by-night or tenderpreneurs and it’s a good thing.”

The researcher also said, by all means, SMEs have the impetus to create synergies with big corporates for experience’s sake before rushing for tenders.

He added that the underlining agenda behind the new stringent measures is to factor out middle-men that vie for tenders, rope in another corporate to do the work and get a cut.

“The point is to get a contract so you can give it to a bigger business and get a cut without having done any work. Then you shouldn’t be entertained, that’s the thing. We don’t need middlemen in the system, that’s the point here. You can see when they are bidding for contracts which one is a proper business and you can even see that they will give this contract to an established business,” he said.