Agency for International Development:

The Minority Shipping Program Is Constrained by Program Requirements

NSIAD-92-304: Published: Sep 1, 1992. Publicly Released: Sep 1, 1992.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Agency for International Development's (AID) program to award contracts under section 8(a) of the Small Business Act, focusing on whether: (1) AID 8(a) program criteria limited the number of contracts available for 8(a) firms; (2) the program enhances the competitive viability of 8(a) firms; and (3) proposed new program requirements comply with the Small Business Act and federal procurement regulations.

GAO found that: (1) AID 8(a) shipping program criteria restricted contract opportunities for 8(a) firms, and some of the criteria were unreasonable; (2) because of the great variability in the type and timing of shipments that AID handles, it cannot make long-term commitments to 8(a) firms, and therefore cannot promote the competitive viability of the firms; and (3) because AID guidelines did not comply with the applicable laws and regulations, AID has added two requirements that bring its program into compliance.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: AID has implemented interim program procedures that lift the tonnage ceiling. These program procedures will be issued in final when the agency receives SBA approval on another technical matter that is totally unrelated to AID's decision to lift the tonnage ceiling.

    Recommendation: Given past AID difficulty in meeting its voluntary 8(a) contracting goal for minority shippers, the Administrator, AID, should increase the number of potential 8(a) contract opportunities by lifting the tonnage ceiling for 8(a) cargoes.

    Agency Affected: United States Agency for International Development

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: AID has implemented interim program procedures that allow 8(a) firms to use foreign-flag vessels when appropriate. These program procedures will be issued in final when the agency receives SBA approval on another technical matter that is totally unrelated to AID's decision to allow 8(a) firms to use foreign-flag vessels.

    Recommendation: Given past AID difficulty in meeting its voluntary 8(a) contracting goal for minority shippers, the Administrator, AID, should increase the number of potential 8(a) contract opportunities by issuing procedures that ensure 8(a) firms are given the opportunity to use foreign-flag vessels whenever possible.

    Agency Affected: United States Agency for International Development

 

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