Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Enterprise Dara Calleary says more needs to be done to ensure that small and medium businesses are given the supports to allow them to compete for public procurement tenders. These tenders give a major boost to companies, which not only increases their business, but provides investment in local economies and creates more job opportunities.
Deputy Calleary commented, “Public sector contracts are big business. It’s estimated that the Government spends in the region of €8.5 billion on the procurement of services and supplies. This represents the single biggest market opportunity for Irish SMEs. Opportunities for Irish companies across a range of sectors must be enhanced to compete in this lucrative marketplace.
“We want to see the playing field levelled for smaller companies and have already published proposals which would see social clauses incorporated into the procurement processes. This is a standard feature in many other countries – EU procurement law makes provision for public authorities to introduce social community clauses in their procurement procedures. These include reservations for social enterprises and SMEs, along with social inclusion and equal opportunity clauses.
“My party colleague Senator Darragh O’Brien has put forward legislation (Public Services and Procurement (Social Value) Bill 2015), requiring public bodies to observe the economic, social and environmental well-being associated with public service contracts being put out to tender. This will allow Irish SMEs to compete more effectively with their European counterparts and has the potential to increase the number of jobs and profitability in the Irish SME sector.
“Procurement can introduce demand into the economy for goods and services at both local and national level. By facilitating greater access to such public contracts, smaller indigenous suppliers will be better supported and entrepreneurship will be promoted.
“Our detailed proposals in the area of procurement will enhance the opportunities for domestic SMEs to tender successfully, thereby increasing jobs”.