The Small Business Bureau (SBB) can anticipate a demarche from local contractors early in the new year in an effort to take advantage of the provision in the Small Business Act that allows small businesses registered with the Bureau to access twenty per cent of government contracts to undertake jobs valued at under thirty million dollars. This was disclosed by President of the General Contractors Association of Guyana (GCAG) Neil Cort-Rogers.
In a telephone interview on Monday with Stabroek Business, Cort-Rogers said that it was his intention to engage the authorities early in 2019 with a view to securing clarity on the clause in the Small Business Act that affords small businesses certain concessions “and to determine exactly what this could mean for small contractors”.
At a media briefing last week, Chief Executive Officer of the SBB Dr Lowell Porter said in response to a question posed by the Stabroek Business that the 20% concession was open to business enterprises in the construction field. There are, however, conditions attached to accessing the facility that have to do with the bona fides of the firm tendering for a contract including whether or not they possess the ability to deliver to the expectations of the Government of Guyana.
Cort told Stabroek Business that he had been out of the jurisdiction for some time and that he needed to be briefed on the specific provisions of the act and how these might apply in the instance of small operators in the local building sector.
”If my understanding of the intention of the clause in the Small Business Act is correct then I think it is a step forward in the direction of opening the way for the small operators in the building sector and creating significant numbers of jobs at a time when they are needed.
At his media briefing last week, Porter told Stabroek Business that as of the start of January next year government will be ‘ready to go” with the full and effective implementation of the provision. Small contractors will have access to contracts at both the regional level and at the level of Ministries. Stabroek Business understands that they could also benefit from sub-contracting arrangements.
Earlier this week Cort-Rogers told this newspaper that he believed that the full and effective implementation of the provisions of the concession being made available to businesses under the Small Business Act could generally have the effect of “raising the standards of competence not only in the construction sector but also in the various other sectors where questionable levels of competence may exist. In the instance of small operators I can tell you that opportunity is what some of the folks have been asking for,” Cort-Rogers told the Stabroek Business.
Over the years local contractors and other service providers in the construction sector have complained about being ‘squeezed out’ by their larger competitors even for modest contracts which they are capable of executing. “I think the 20% concession is an important trial for small businesses, including small contractors. Indeed, I have no problem in saying that I think that they should be held up to high standards. It is the only way they will grow,” Cort-Rogers said.
Members of GCAG are to meet to discuss their planned engagement with the Small Business Bureau.