Based on my previous blogs, you must be aware by now that government is the largest single buyer of goods, works and services in the country. Just to remind you, the government spends approximately 70% of budget on procurement. The expected budget in 2013/2014 is estimated at Ksh1.6 trillion, which means that the government procurement spend will be slightly over Ksh.1 billion.
President Uhuru’s directive of reserving 30% of all government procurement for enterprises owned by the youth, women and persons with disabilities, including MSMEs is now a key pillar of the government’s agenda. What this means is that procurement opportunities reserved for youth owned businesses is estimated at Ksh300 billion in the next financial year.
However, despite the current opportunities in public procurement the youth are ill prepared to participate in and benefit from these opportunities. In this regard, the government and the youth must guard against the possibility of being fraudulently presented as owners (paper shareholders) of enterprises by experienced and established businessmen seeking to win government tenders.
Furthermore, for the youth to be able to meaningfully participate in and benefit from public procurement opportunities, they must first understand what is at stake. In this blog, I shall provide you with an overview of the legal and regulatory framework to enable you to better understand your rights and obligations under the law.
But before I provide a quick snap shot, lets discuss some of the challenges that the youth are likely to face on the road to engaging successfully in the public procurement process. Perhaps one of the greatest challenges in this regard is that many youth don’t consider being an entrepreneur as a genuine career path with financial reward and work satisfaction. They usually consider ‘biashara’ as an alternative to joblessness.
In addition, very few youth enterprises have the necessary expertise or experience in the public procurement tendering process to be able to effectively compete with larger and more established firms with several years’ experience. Furthermore, although the economic contribution of micro and small enterprises in Kenya is widely acknowledged, little effort has been made to look at it from the youth perspective. Finally, the specific needs of the youth and particularly their entrepreneurial potential as well as their critical contribution to economic and social progress are underestimated.
In the meantime, I’ve provided you with links to some of the laws that you ought to be conversant with in order to successfully participate the public procurement journey.
I’ll go into much greater details about each of these laws and regulations in my next blog.
Until next time….