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Hayes challenged to open up public procurement to SMEs and microenterprises

6 March, 2013 - by Mary Lou McDonald TD

Sinn Féin Public Expenditure and Reform Spokesperson, Mary Lou McDonald TD, has criticised the Minister for Public Expenditure and Minister of State for Public Service Reform for failing adequately to open up public procurement to SMEs and micro-enterprises.

Deputy McDonald said:
“On entering government Fine Gael and Labour promised a democratic revolution. Citizens understood this to mean political reform, job creation and renewed focus on fairness. Of course, the reality has been very different. Both government parties have thrown their pre-election commitments to the wind and doggedly continued to implement Fianna Fáil’s policies.
“This morning Minister of State, Brian Hayes TD, confirmed the democratic revolution referred to in the Programme for Government had nothing to do with reform, jobs or services and was instead simply a reference to getting Fianna Fáil out.
“In advance of 2011 Fine Gael committed to overhauling public procurement so that small companies could bid for business. Labour promised to seek reforms so that a greater portion of all public procurement could go to SMEs. Neither promise has been delivered on. Day after day we are contacted by micro-enterprises and SME’s who continue to face particular barriers to the participation in the public procurement market.
“We want to see the Department of Public Expenditure comprehensively review state and local authority procurement projects with the aim of breaking them down and allowing smaller businesses to compete for tenders. €14 billion was spent in 2011 on public expenditure including capital works, goods and services. Roughly €9 billion of this was spent by public bodies on supplies and services.
“Small businesses need action. The National Procurement Service Working Group and training programme for SMEs are but a drop in the ocean of what is actually required. Public procurement has a critical role to play in the state’s economic recovery and by not maximising these opportunities the Department of Public Expenditure is failing small businesses.”

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