Abia State Bureau of Public Procurement has, in collaboration with the State Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprises, held a training session on SMEs to sensitize the small and medium business owners on how to overcome the barriers to SME participation in Government contracts.

Declaring the training open, the Commissioner for Small and Medium Enterprises Development, Mr. Onyema Wachuku said the training was organized as part of a collaboration between the private sector and Government.

According to him, the essence is to make sure that SMEs do business with Government adding that the training session was to guide the small and medium business owners on what you need to do in order to do business with Government.

While noting that Government contracts can be very lucrative for small businesses the Commissioner stated the Government wants more SMEs to get involved in procurement Process of Government urging them to put more trust in Government.

He called on small and medium business owners not to be scared of doing business with Government as well as to jettison any already held perception about Government contracts.
He said: “We’re all involved in this ground experience. We’re trying to do things differently now, give us a chance and build trust in the present administration. Judge us on what we do and forget any previously held notion about Government contracts.”

Mr. Wachukwu assured that the exercise will be a continuous exercise as this will serve as database moving forward. He charged participants to be free to ask any questions as well as approach the Ministry of SME for both registration and other guidelines.

Speaking earlier, the Director General of Bureau of Public Procurement otherwise known as the Due Process Office, Chief Chinedum Elechi disclosed that Government has amended some of the sections of the BPP laws hindering the SMEs from participating in Government procurement processes. According to him, Government has realized the need to empower the SMEs through Government contracts hence the need to sensitize them.

In his lecture titled: “Introduction to Sample Guidelines to Increase SMEs Participation in Government Contracts and other Emergencies,” Mr. Amaechi Chukwu said wants to empower SMEs to enable them bounce back to the level they were before the lockdown occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mr. Chukwu, who is also the Focal Person, Open Government Partnership revealed that 30 per cent of the Abia State 2020 revised budget was COVID-19 compliant as it targeted the SMEs.

Among other Facilitators of the training session is Special Adviser to the Governor on Policy Implementation, Monitoring and Evaluation, Mr. Chima Chukwu while the President, Umuahia Chamber of Commerce, Chief Nkem Chidi Aruoma was among the participants and also gave the vote of thanks.