Afghan Vendors Post Impressive Gains in Contracting
American Forces Press Service
KABUL, Afghanistan, March 14, 2006 Afghan vendors won 84 percent of contracts awarded by the U.S. military's regional contracting centers in February, up from 55 percent in October, military officials here reported.
Their gains in contract values were even more impressive, to 81 percent in January from 31 percent in October, they added.
Coalition officials attributed the gains to efforts emphasizing Afghan businesses, changes in contract solicitation language and efforts to educate Afghan vendors on how to compete for U.S. military contracts.
Such contracts involve office furniture and supplies, construction materials and work, hauling, interpreting and other products and services. Between October and February, U.S. military contracting officers awarded contracts worth a total of $108 million to 715 Afghan vendors.
"The coalition is establishing the conditions for enduring security and stability in Afghanistan. Promoting economic development is a part of that," said Lt. Col. Scott Kiser, director of Afghanistan contracting for the recently formed Joint Contracting Command for Iraq and Afghanistan.
One change to contracting language involves encouraging bidding vendors to hire Afghan suppliers and distributors. In another change, the contracting command gives more consideration to vendors who hire Afghans or who promise to train Afghans than to vendors who do not.
Officials from Regional Contracting Center Kabul explained the changes during their first Vendors Day in December. Other contracting centers plan similar events in Kandahar, Khost and Parwan provinces in the near future, officials said.