SMEs chamber CEO advocates paradigm shift in Government procurement

Abigail Agius Mamo urges government to opt for quality rather than cost alone, so businesses would avoid compromising on standards to outbid each other

Malta Chamber of Small and Medium-Sized Businesses (SME) CEO Abigail Agius Mamo has called for a paradigm shift in the approach to government tenders and procurement.

"The framework for calls for tenders needs to be changed," she emphasised, stressing the importance of prioritising quality over the temptation to opt for the cheapest option.

"Opt for value for money," Mamo urged the government, suggesting that by focusing on quality rather than cost alone, businesses would avoid compromising on standards to outbid each other.

Mamo expressed concerns about the state of the contracting department, noting that despite its wealth of knowledge, it has been maintained in a suboptimal state.

She proposed strengthening the department to serve as a guiding force for all ministries in ensuring quality procurements.

Public procurement also featured in the results of the SME's barometer for the first quarter of 2023.

Referring to the results, Agius Mamo stated that global uncertainty fuelled by ongoing challenges, including the COVID-19 pandemic, has reverberated even among Maltese investors who are uncertain about their plans for the next year.

She agreed with host Saviour Balzan that businesses tend to base their investments on the "feel-good factor," which is currently tainted by low sales.

"For example, we expected a better Black Friday; there were businesses that needed better results. Now, we hope that maybe we will have a better end of the month," she said.

Speaking to MaltaToday, Agius Mamo said the Black Friday period has become crucial for Maltese businesses, and years of tweaking the strategy has streamlined how shops operate.