The COVID-19 pandemic has hit many parts of the economy hard and put immense strain on people, industry and economies as a whole. OECD findings confirm that SMEs, in particular, have suffered, with over half of them facing severe losses in revenue. Many are at risk of going out of business. In an attempt to support struggling businesses and the vast number of jobs they provide, governments around the world have been providing loans, grants, and bailouts.
In the EU, together with Member States, the European Commission has responded to emerging needs by adapting EU legislation and facilitating financing for European businesses in order to help them remain operational. In order to achieve recovery and a strong and inclusive economy, however, we must restart economic growth rapidly.
Part of the solution could lie in another form of cash-injection that governments also have at their disposal, which is often overlooked – public procurement. Usually representing around one-third of total government expenditure, public procurement can be used to achieve multiple goals at once due to the vast amount of public money spent on these contracts.
The EU Council adopted a set of conclusions centred on how efficient public procurement rules and practices, combined with increased public spending, can accelerate economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis and lead to a sustainable and more resilient EU economy. This is echoed in ACCA’s new report ‘New models of Public Procurement : a tool for sustainable recovery’.
Governments can help struggling SMEs by buying from them through open, competitive, and transparent public procurement contracts. Many SMEs currently face significant barriers to bidding and winning public procurement contracts, however, including lengthy and difficult bidding processes, a lack of knowledge about upcoming contracts, and limited resources to bid on.
In this context, Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), SMEunited and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) are delighted to invite you to a web conference on 23 March at 11am CET to examine the obstacles that SMEs face, and how governments can reduce these barriers to promote better SME inclusion in public procurement contracts.
The webinar will also examine how, as a result, governments can both deliver high-quality goods and services, and support businesses that need help through this difficult period, using public procurement as a strategic tool to foster sustainable and innovative growth and simultaneously reducing administrative burdens and compliance costs.
11.00am - Welcome and presentation on the ‘New models of public procurement: A tool for sustainable recovery’ report
- Rachel Bleetman, Public Sector expert
- Aleksandra Zaronina, Head of SME Affairs, ACCA
11.10 – 11.20am - Views from the European Commission
- Katharina Knapton-Vierlich, Head of Unit, Public Procurement Strategy, DG GROW
11.20am - Discussion moderated by Gerhard Huemer, Director of Economic Affairs, SMEunited
- Mathieu Cahen, Senior Policy Analyst, Public Procurement, OECD
- Eliza Niewiadomska, Senior Counsel in charge of the Public Procurement sector at the Legal Transition Programme, EBRD
- Philippos Katranis, Head of Public Procurement Directorate, Treasury of the Republic of Cyprus
12.05pm - Q&As
12.15pm - Keynote concluding remarks, Ondřej KOVAŘÍK, MEP
12.25pm - Conclusions, SMEunited