Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, Hon. Fayval Williams, says public procurement is a viable means of stimulating sustained economic growth and development.
Mrs. Williams was speaking at the opening of the 12th Inter-American Network on Government Procurement (INGP) conference, at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in St. James, on November 29.
The State Minister said the adoption and adherence to procurement guidelines is a driving force in economic development, given the strong purchasing power of the Government.
"The current procurement spend constitutes a significant portion of the gross domestic product (GDP). This is an immense capacity to influence the design of public development policies which have meaningful social, economic and environmental impact on the citizens,? Mrs. Williams argued.
She said that the driving of entrepreneurship, through the empowerment of players in the Micro, Small and Medium Sized Enterprise (MSME) sector in public procurement, will be a key component in the process of economic development and the reduction of bureaucratic red tapes.
"The MSMEs are the backbone of the economy, as they are engines of growth, accounting for 90 per cent of total employment in Jamaica. The Government is keen on the creation of an enabling environment which is complemented by the implementation of legislation, policies and programmes to reduce bureaucratic impediments of doing business with the Government,? the State Minister noted.
"In particular, the issue of allowing MSMEs to take up a more meaningful share of the Government of Jamaica procurement contracts has been the subject of a significant dialogue and review among our executive and policy technocrats, with wide-scale stakeholder consultations from the MSME sector and the wider private sector,? she added.
Mrs. Williams said discussions among participants at the conference will assist in strengthening efficiency and transparency in government procurement.
She noted that the meeting will also play a major role in the promotion of regional coordination among participants, a move which is endorsed by the Government.
The State Minister said Jamaica has, over the years, reaped tremendous benefits by being an active member of the INGP, especially in the area of public-procurement reform.
The conference, which ends on Thursday (December 1), is being staged under the theme"Public Procurement" a Tool for Economic Development"
It is being attended by more than 300 participants, who should benefit from the analysis of lessons learnt and best practices from leading institutions in the Caribbean and Latin American region.
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