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No 'Smoking Gun'
WASHINGTON - In response to Tuesday's Government Accountability Office (GAO) report entitled, "Monitoring and Oversight of Tribal 8(a) Firms Need Attention," the Native American Contractors Association released the following statement:
"The GAO report contains no 'smoking gun' to justify further legislative reform of the Native 8(a) program,"
stated Sarah Lukin, Interim Executive Director of Native American Contractors Association.
"The GAO correctly points out what NACA has long supported; that contracting officers need training to better understand rules and regulations, and that there must be greater coordination between agencies regarding monitoring and oversight of the entire 8(a) program."
The GAO report notes that the number of Tribal, Alaska Native Corporation, and Native Hawaiian Organization 8(a) firms increased by 49 percent between 2005 and 2010, and that these Native 8(a) firms significantly increased the amount of their competitive contracts over the same five year period. Ms. Lukin stated:
"More Native businesses are participating in the 8(a) program to expand their business acumen and, leveraging the experience gained, are competing for government contracts. Clearly the 8(a) program is working as Congress intended."
"Collectively, Native 8(a) contracts represent a small fraction - approximately one percent - of all federal contract dollars,"
Ms. Lukin continued.
"Our small sliver of the federal pie is making a dramatic impact on the lives of hundreds of thousands of Native people nationwide through scholarships, jobs, elder care assistance and other critical programs."
Government contracting is an important sector for tribal businesses that are building sustainable, healthy economies in some of the most impoverished communities in the country, where unemployment and poverty rates are often staggering.
Native American Contractors Association represents over 200 Tribal, Alaska Native Corporation, and Native Hawaiian Organization government contracting firms across the United States. These businesses collectively employ over 55,000 people with an annual payroll of nearly $2 billion, with operations in all 50 states, several US territories, and foreign countries. Native American Contractors Association's members represent over 675,000 tribal members, Alaska Native shareholders, and Native Hawaiians.
posted February 9, 2012 7:50 am est
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