Hike in upper limit for quotations to help SMEs take part in higher-value public projects: Indranee

Hike in upper limit for quotations to help SMEs take part in higher-value public projects: Indranee

Second Minister for Finance Indranee Rajah on Feb 28. 2019
Second Minister for Finance Indranee Rajah speaking during the Ministry of Finance’s Committee of Supply debate on Feb 28. 2019.

SINGAPORE: As part of the Government’s ongoing efforts to make it easier for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to take part in public projects, the upper limit for quotations will be raised to S$90,000 this year.

This was announced by Second Minister for Finance Indranee Rajah on Wednesday (Feb 28) during the Committee of Supply debate on the Ministry of Finance’s (MOF) budget.

At the moment, the Government procures products and services through three procedures determined by procurement values.

Quotation is one of the ways, and is currently defined as procurement values of between S$6,000 and S$70,000 on the MOF’s website. Projects worth less than S$6,000 will be done through the method of small value purchase, while those more than S$70,000 currently falls under tender.

An increase in the upper threshold to S$90,000 will allow smaller companies and start-ups to capture higher-value Government projects through quotations, which come with simpler contractual terms and conditions and tend to be processed more quickly, said Ms Indranee.

Rules have been eased over the years to make it easier for SMEs to participate in Government procurement. For instance, companies with less than S$5 million turnover no longer have to submit audited accounts when applying for Government Supplier Registration (GSR) since last year.

This has benefited about 3,900 GRS registered suppliers, said Ms Indranee.

The latest rule change, she hopes, will benefit the 12,000 suppliers who participate in quotations but not tenders.

Still, Ms Indranee stressed that while Government procurement can help to give firms a boost, companies need to be innovative fundamentally and offer value-for-money solutions.

The Government will also continue to tap on digital technology to streamline corporate regulatory requirements.

Virtual annual general meetings, raised by Holland-Bukit Timah GRC MP Liang Eng Hwa, is a "good" suggestion, said Ms Indranee, given how it has helped many Fortune 500 companies like HP and PayPal to reduce costs.

As such, there will be a review of the Companies Act this year to “expressly provide for the use of digital means for companies to conduct meetings and interact with stakeholders”, she said.

Source: CNA/sk

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