Published on 

Just 25% of SMEs registed for public contracts – not good enough says Hayes

Brian Hayes TD, Minister of State with special responsibility for the Office of Public Works (OPW) speaking this morning in Dundalk at the InterTrade Ireland ‘Meet the Buyer Event’ told the SME sector that if they want to get public contracts they need to engage with the process and register with

. He said "In order to win public contracts - you need to know about them. Signing onto the etenders website alerts you to the opportunities of public contracts"

The Minister said, "In the past 3 years this site was the main vehicle for the transacting of well over €11 billion worth of public service business. It concerns me that out of an estimated 200,000 (+) SMEs in the country there is only approx. 50-60,000 SMEs registered on this important site. That's about 1 in 4 of all small businesses that are aware of public procurement opportunities. Can we do more to help small business access some of the €15 billion placed by the public sector every year – of course we can".

To make it an easier and more accessible, I launched a new Suite of Procurement documentation in June 2011 to considerably reduce the administrative burden on both suppliers and buyers. These documents will help create certainty in the marketplace and ensure a consistent approach by public sector bodies,"

The Minister said, "Public Service expenditure (all-island) on the procurement of works, goods and services amounts to approx €21 billion per annum. This represents approx 10% of GDP. A very significant volume of economic/commercial activity and to date, organisations such as InterTrade Ireland, the National Procurement Service and others have worked closely to deliver training workshops to, in excess of 1,000 SMEs nationwide. In doing this we are recognising the absolute necessity that buyers have access to a well –informed and skilled supplier base and market place. True competition, innovative solutions, and ultimately value for money for the taxpayer can only really be derived from such a knowledge base."

The Minister concluded, "The new Programme for Government has identified the major role public procurement can play in becoming a tool to support innovation and to ensure access by Small and Medium Sized Enterprises to the public service market. Getting value for money for the taxpayer and helping SMEs to win public business can be achieved." the Minister said.