The U-S Small Business Administration is prepared to issue new regulations changing the federal oversight of the 8(a) program that allows regional and village native corporations to avoid the competitive bidding process on many federal purchases.
The Director of the Native Affairs office of the S-B-A, Clara Pratt, today (Monday) told the House Economic Development committee and the Senate World Trade Committee that in recent years, S-B-A inspectors, the Government Accountability Office and Congress have identified what she called “challenges” in the program and with Alaska Native Corporations in particular. She said that is the reason for the new regulations.
We are committed to receiving full input from all of our stakeholders, and committed to going out and having dialog with Alaska native corporations, tribally owned entities and native Hawaiian organizations on the effects the proposed draft regulations will have on their companies. Overall the success of the 8(a) program has been a strong step in the direction of trust and treaty obligation and fulfillment. Its success has allowed for some capital effusion into some of the most rural and economically depressed regions while providing a value added service for the government.
Maver Carey , the President and C-E-O of the Kuskokwim Corporation, said that with government contracts it is now working, the corporation has the ability to respond to the needs and conditions of the community it serves.
We have huge unemployment, very high cost of living, few economic opportunities, high teenage pregnancy rates, drug and alcohol abuse, and very, very high suicide rates. We just did stock transfers for three people who committed suicide who were in their mid-twenties with the last three weeks.
She said because of the 8(a) programs, the corporation has been able to provide economic benefits through its dividends, to grant scholarships to students – some of whom are now studying at the masters’ levels – and to offer employment opportunities to the residents of the area. Those are beyond what normal businesses would contribute – and she said getting to an income level to be able to do those things began when it starting working within the federal eight-A program.
The S-B-A draft regulations are due to be released on Wednesday.