Developments within government such as the creation of the ministry of economic development and, more recently, the ministry of SMEs indicate that the public procurement system also needs to evolve to remain a relevant and proactive tool to drive sustainable economic development, said Adv. Siza Mthethwa, General Manager: KZN Supply Chain Management, KZN Provincial Government.
Addressing procurement & supply chain officials at the KZN Smart Procurement conference, Mthethwa said the public sector needs to change the mind set of procurement officials and how procurement is done.
“We need to ensure that the government has a system that will talk to the problems we face.”
Government has also realised that Small, Medium and Micro-sized Enterprises (SMMEs) play a huge role in assisting to grow the economy and mitigate the unemployment rate in the country. However, SMMEs are still faced with many challenges and obstacles such as:
• conflict or contradictions in key government legislation, which hinders public procurement from SMMEs;
• lack of management skills;
• lack of access to finance;
• lack of access to market and development of relationships with customers
• lack of appropriate technology and products capacity;
• lack of infrastructure for operations; and
• problems with government bureaucracy and red tape.
In a survey of over 300 SMMEs, 88% mentioned that they lacked access to market. The survey was conducted for the National Treasury by TK Global Experts, who, together will the DTI, can “navigate market access for SMMEs even globally” said Kamogelo Mampane CEO State Owned Enterprise Procurement Forum (SOEPF) and TK Global Experts.
“Working together with SMMEs, in the coming conference of next year in KZN, TK Global Experts and the DTI will be able to assess interventions for SMMEs development. With all of this reviewed, they hope that they will be able to empower the people that have to buy and procure to ensure that investments stay in the country.