11 April 2008
Government buyers in Trinidad and Tobago will be encouraged to favour small and local suppliers as part of measures to reform procurement.
Local firms will, however, need to demonstrate they are competitive with foreign companies.
Keith Rowley, minister of trade and industry, said reforms include 10 per cent of government procurement being directed to small local businesses, to help develop entrepreneurs in the region. Agencies will also be asked to identify a preference for local suppliers in tenders.
But, Rowley added, a balance needed to be found between developing local providers and keeping markets accessible to all.
"It is not sufficient for local or regional suppliers of goods and services to complain about the existence or threat of foreign companies without committing to better quality, improved delivery schedules and higher productivity," he said.
The government has previously been criticised for a lack of speed in carrying out procurement reform (News, 24 May 2007). In his speech the minister conceded that work has been in progress since 1987.