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Dublin: 10°C Sunday 18 April 2021

Small firms 'prohibited' from government work

Larger companies forcing down prices for government work.

Leo Varadkar at the SFA annual lunch last year.
Leo Varadkar at the SFA annual lunch last year.
Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

THE SMALL FIRMS Association has hit out at public procurement, claiming that its members are “effectively prohibited” from tendering for government contracts.

The SFA called on the Public Accounts Committee to investigate procurement processes, and said that the government should align its job creation policies with procurement practices.

SFA chairman AJ Noonan said: “In its pursuit of the cheapest price, the Government is neglecting the fact that this will not deliver either the quality, cost in use savings or service levels it desires.”

Data for 2013 suggests that 28 per cent of tenders are being awarded to non-Irish companies, climbing from a previous high of 18 per cent.

In a recent survey conducted by the SFA, 82 per cent of small firms that had tendered for government work found that a rigorous emphasis on price rather than value for money was either a major or a minor difficulty.

Noonan said that large international suppliers can leverage their buying power to compete on price, pushing smaller firms out of the procurement picture.

Noonan said:

It is essential that the new procurement system is designed from a think small first perspective, as recommended by the EU, and that actions are put in place to remove the barriers raised against small business around the country.

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About the author:

Jack Horgan-Jones

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