For Immediate Release
November 22, 2016
ST. JOHN’S, NL – The Newfoundland and Labrador Environmental Industry Association (NEIA) is pleased with the province’s introduction of new public procurement legislation. The tabling of legislation on Monday represented the first steps towards reforming how the province, municipalities, and other public agencies purchase products and services.
“Outdated procurement policies and procedures are acting as barriers for local businesses in providing their products and services to our own governments and agencies,” says Kieran Hanley, NEIA’s Interim Executive Director. “Our members have been asking for the reform of public procurement for some time. We applaud the government for listening, and for taking these necessary steps.”
“Governments purchase many products and services, from pencils to vehicles,” says Hanley. “Ensuring that we afford the maximum opportunity for local firms to sell to government will enable local economic opportunities.”
Hanley notes that a primary issue with the current legislation relates to the directive to select lowest cost options. “This is particularly problematic for the environmental sector,” says Hanley. “Often, products or services are more efficient, less wasteful, or more sustainable have greater up-front costs.” Hanley says such products or services would be excluded under current rules – despite the possibility that they also may offer significant savings for the taxpayer over the medium or long-term.
Another issue for environmental firms within the current framework is the prescriptive nature of procurement requests. “A tender for the installation of a drainage culvert will attract only proposals for culvert installations. But an RFP which asks instead for effective stormwater retention could potentially attract more resilient and economical products or solutions.” Hanley says that in this respect a modern procurement framework can facilitate innovation and development within an economy.
Hanley says NEIA is encouraged by what it has seen from government on its proposed public procurement act reform. “We have had the opportunity to discuss our issues with the current framework, and to propose solutions – many of which are being included in the new framework,” says Hanley. “NEIA looks forward to continuing those discussions as the procurement reform moves from legislation to practice.”
In the meantime, Hanley says, firms have the opportunity to meet with public procurement officers at an upcoming ‘Reverse Tradeshow’ being held on November 30th by The St. John’s Board of Trade and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador . “It is important that those who are buying goods and solutions know about the products or services businesses are providing locally,” noted Hanley. More information on the Reverse Tradeshow can be found at http://stjohnbotnf.chambermaster.com/events/details/meet-the-buyers-reverse-trade-show-207.
NEIA is a not-for-profit association of businesses that promotes the growth and development of the green economy in Newfoundland and Labrador. NEIA has over 200 members. More information can be found at http://www.neia.org.
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