South African small- and medium-sized enterprises will now more easily gain access to government procurement opportunities thanks to a new initiative that digitizes federal tender processes.
The nation’s Minister of Finance revealed plans in his recent budget speech for an electronic tender portal run by the National Treasury, reports said Monday (March 9). The Minister, Nhlanhla Nene, said officials are aiming to have the portal up by next month.
Reports say SMEs in the nation will have a more affordable and transparent way to do business with government procurement officials through the platform.
The new portal will accompany a new government mandate that requires all government departments to publish tenders worth more than R500 000 ($40,000) beginning April 1. Those tender offerings will be publicized on the portal.
On the supply side, Nene said that vendors will need to register on the portal after being listed on the National Treasury’s database. All tender documents will be offered free of charge to suppliers, reports say, and all advertisements of federal procurement projects in newspapers will be phased out.
Vendors will also be able to access and verify their tax and Black Economic Empowerment status on the platform.
Further, the National Treasury’s 2015 Budget Review notes that the portal will integrate with the South Africa Revenue Service, the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission, and the payroll system. The platform’s full reach will take two years to accomplish, the Treasury predicted.
According to the Treasury’s chief procurement officer Kenneth Brown, South Africa saw more than $40 billion worth of federal procurement business in the 2013/2014 fiscal year, and more than 600 government entities participated in federal procurement operations.
South Africa is only the latest government in the world to digitize its procurement practices. Recently, Jamaica, Spain and Georgia have all launched e-procurement initiatives. South Africa is predicted to be among 11 nations that will experience the next wave of rapid economic growth, according to a recent study by EY.