• The San Juan Daily Star

Producers, gov’t buyers, staff of agencies to interface at PR Compra

Karla G. Mercado Rivera is the administrator and main purchasing officer of the General Services Administration.

By The Star Staff

The administrator and main purchasing officer of the General Services Administration (ASG by its Spanish initials), Karla G. Mercado Rivera, announced the creation of an initiative that seeks to bring together government buyers, as well as companies and professionals interested in selling their products and services.

The idea is to promote competition, find better products and prices, and encourage transparency in agency purchasing processes.

Next month’s event, called Puerto Rico Compra 2022, will have 258 spaces and is expected to be an effective platform for entrepreneurs listed in the Single Registry of Bidders (RUL) to display and present their catalogs of products and services to officials who daily attend to the purchasing needs of the agencies.

Mercado Rivera urged companies interested in selling products and services to the government to participate in the inaugural ASG convention, which will take place on Jan. 26 and 27 at the Puerto Rico Convention Center.

“This is an opportunity for the different industries and in turn will give purchasing specialists access to a greater variety of goods available in the markets to evaluate them with an eye on establishing better acquisitions of goods or services at better prices,” added the head of the ASG.

“Through this event, the Government of Puerto Rico, as the main public sector procurement client, seeks to expand its supplier base while reducing public spending,” said Mercado Rivera, who serves as the government’s main purchasing officer under Law 73 of 2019, as amended. “By offering ample space for the private sector to make their offerings, we try to stimulate competition between companies, while the Government benefits from having more alternatives to choose from. In addition, the resulting commercial exchange is a support to the economic reactivation of the island.”

Mercado Rivera noted that the island government “has over 14,000 registered bidders.”

“However, we cannot expect public servants to know the full range of goods and services available to the Government and the price alternatives that exist for products with similar uses,” she said. “For this reason, we are holding this event. Buyers, bid specialists and staff from the various agencies will be able to attend the talks and demonstrations and thus learn first-hand about the most suitable options for agencies. In the same way, the Auction Board will provide guidance on the processes and the form of selection in the bids.”

“We urge businessmen who have not yet confirmed their attendance at the event to contact the ASG and set aside a space in advance,” she added.

The General Services administrator said public servants will have a prominent role in the convention. For this reason, she invited the employees of the three branches of the government to visit the exhibitors and pavilions, to learn about and evaluate the offers that companies have available to public entities.

“Employees of government agencies know better than anyone the needs that exist in their workplaces, so they can assist with their knowledge and advice in the purchasing process,” Mercado Rivera said. “At the convention, they will have the opportunity to examine new products and the latest trends, in a public place and with full transparency, as will government procurement officials. The information on brands and characteristics of the goods obtained by the employee will place him or her in a position to make recommendations to the supervisors who make the requisitions and thus contribute to a more efficient and productive purchasing process for the agency. The efficiencies and savings obtained will benefit the people.”

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