From Swords to Ploughshares
Edited by Lateef Mtima
Chapter 5: Public procurement’s role in facilitating social justice, entrepreneurship and innovation in the global knowledge economy
The field of public procurement is not always celebrated, yet it is ever-present in a globalizing society. United States public procurement – inclusive of Federal, state, and local governments – has garnered significant interest among key players in global procurement markets. Recent interest is driven largely by the potential for United States procurement markets to contribute to the expansion of the existing global procurement market. While all too difficult to project accurately, it is reasonably conceivable that among the 50 states, six territories and 87,525 local governments comprising the United States, state and local procurement spending may be roughly valued at approximately $1.5 trillion annually for the purchase of goods, supplies, equipment, services and construction. In 2011 alone, total federal procurement spending reached $537 billion. As globalization and normalization of laws take higher precedence in developed and developing societies, efficacious laws, rules, and regulations are necessary to support the strong public policy of fostering honest competition to assure prudent and economical use of public monies and to facilitate the acquisition of high quality goods and services at the lowest possible cost. The objectives of a system of good public procurement, in addition to the protection of taxpayers and the public treasury by obtaining the best work at the lowest possible price or cost, is to guard against favoritism, improvidence, extravagance, fraud and corruption in the awarding of public contracts.
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