Electronic Tendering System

Part of FINANCE AND personnel – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 3:30 pm on 23rd March 2009.

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Photo of Nigel Dodds Nigel Dodds Shadow Spokesperson (Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform), Without portfolio, Shadow Spokesperson (Justice), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Without Portfolio) 3:30 pm, 23rd March 2009

I thank the Member for his question. I know that that issue is a source of interest, particularly to the members of the Committee for Finance and Personnel. It is also important to local firms and businesses in the economic downturn, given that £2·2 billion will be spent on procurement this year alone, with some £1·5 billion being spent on capital. I can confirm to the House that all centres of procurement expertise will be using the common portal by early 2010 — that was agreed at the last procurement board, which I chaired.

It is important that there should be a joined-up approach right across Government, and that all central Government contracts should be available in one single portal. That will make it much easier for our small and medium-sized enterprises, in particular, to access the information and cut time, money and resources that would otherwise have to be spent doing it individually. It is positive for Northern Ireland business.