By: Chester Robards, Nassau Guardian,
Government wants 20 percent of small businesses to win government contracts in The Bahamas, as it continues to work toward rolling out its e-procurement and supplier registry.
A press release on the government’s e-procurement reform seminar held at the Pelican Bay resort on Grand Bahama Thursday explained that Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest said his government also wants to do away with the bias that has existed in the system of awarding government contracts, and the corruption and waste it has bred.
He said government also wants to narrow the gap between large and small businesses when it comes to contract awards as well.
“I know that for most businesses in The Bahamas that I have come across, one of the things that they have been concerned about is fairness and access,” Turnquest said.
“We know how it worked in the past, where if your party is in power you get the contracts and when your party is not in power, you’re out of luck. This system seeks to try to create some balance, some equity and fairness across the system, so that we can take out these kinds of bias.
“If we allow the system to work the way it has been designed to work, it is going to create equity and it will result in savings and GDP business growth for all Bahamians.”
Turnquest also said the Public Procurement Act has been drafted and will be presented to Parliament soon.
According to Turnquest, a large portion of the country’s gross domestic product is derived from government contracts, and he said government wants to see the process become more transparent and more equitable.
“I think we all know that there are those entities, who because of their resources, have been able to corner the market on procurement and economic activities in this country,” he said.
“Through the efforts of the Small Business Development Centre, we are hoping to empower the ordinary Bahamian who doesn’t have a rich parent or some connected source, that they will be able to obtain the kind of support and resources that will allow them to enter the mainstream and compete with the ‘big boys’ and the legacy institutions.
“That is very important. Because as we move into a more modern society and as we have more and more of our young people coming into the sector with very high expectations, it is important that they have an opportunity to compete and fulfill their visions, without unfair bias. So, we are extremely happy with what the Small Business Development Centre is doing, particularly in Grand Bahama.”