Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Anthony Hylton, says he will be submitting the recently drafted micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) procurement policy to Cabinet as early as next week.
Mr. Hylton said the draft policy, which was developed in conjunction with the Ministry of Finance and Planning, is geared at facilitating and stimulating growth and employment in the small business sector.
(Related Story: Draft Small Business Policy Ready)
He was speaking to journalists on Thursday (June 21) during a post-Sectoral Debate press briefing at the Ministry’s New Kingston offices.
“It (the policy) is critical to assist our small businesses. We have to address issues like financing and government procurement,” he stated.
The Minister further noted that the policy is necessary as there are a number of weaknesses in the current procurement system, which must be addressed.
“Some of the weaknesses include allowing foreign companies to tender without being registered and then provide the information upon tendering. Why are we not requiring a period of registration for all and to say, unless you register with Jamaica, you can’t tender?” he asked. “These are weaknesses that must be fixed,” he stated.
A recent study conducted with support from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to inform the development of the small business procurement policy, found that between 50 to 75 per cent of MSMEs consider the Government of Jamaica (GoJ) procurement process to be too lengthy and unaffordable.
The study also found that GoJ tender requirements and documents are considered too burdensome for essentially low value contracts; bid security was too burdensome; and tax compliance requirements act as a deterrent.
Additionally, it highlighted a delinquency in payment by government and main contractors to MSMEs and sub-contractors.
By Athaliah Reynolds-Baker, JIS Reporter