Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut July 03, 2012 - 7:09 am

Nunavut roundtable creates 13 recommendations to help Inuit firms get contracts

Participants want separate Inuit business preference policy

DAVID MURPHY
Former Nunavut cabinet minister Manitok Thompson (right), and brother Louie Bruce of Sudliq Developments Ltd., left, say Article 24 of the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement, which states Inuit firms should have priority over other companies competing for government contracts, is not upheld. They want changes so Inuit businesses are awarded more contracts. (FILE PHOTO)
Former Nunavut cabinet minister Manitok Thompson (right), and brother Louie Bruce of Sudliq Developments Ltd., left, say Article 24 of the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement, which states Inuit firms should have priority over other companies competing for government contracts, is not upheld. They want changes so Inuit businesses are awarded more contracts. (FILE PHOTO)

A list of recommendations to fix a “broken” business climate has been placed in the hands of Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. after a heated discussion between some members of the Nunavut business community, NTI, and the Government of Nunavut at a small business roundtable held in Iqaluit last week.

At the roundtable, business owners aired their complaints with the Nunavummi Nangminiqaqtunik Ikajuuti policy, the Inuit Firm Registry, and Article 24 of the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement.

Business owners then hashed out recommendations at the end of the roundtable.

They are to be discussed at the NTI Annual General Meeting next fall.

The list of 13 recommendations are:

• That NTI and the GN review and improve registration and a renewal system for Inuit firms.

• That Inuit organizations and the GN perform spot checks to verify information claimed by businesses.

• That firms who provide misleading information on their applications be kicked off the Inuit Firm Registry.

• That the GN’s NNI policy be simplified by separating and creating a distinct Inuit Business Preference Policy.

• That the GN and NTI negotiate an Inuit procurement policy that would give Inuit businesses more points over other businesses when contracts are awarded.

• That the Inuit business preference policy provides advantages reflective of the proportion of Inuit ownership and control of any firm.

• That an Inuit business preference policy provide procurement advantages reflective of Inuit ownership, beneficial control, employment, financing, management and other qualities, not just legal ownership percentages.

• That NTI protect the rights of Inuit businesses and provide support when businesses take legal actions to advance Article 24 rights.

• That the NNI policy prevent the GN from issuing contracts while a matter is under appeal.

• That the GN issue request for proposals and tender calls in a timely manner to allow an appeal process time to operate effectively.

• That authority for NNI appeals be enhanced to “require” the decision of the NNI appeal board, instead of “recommend.”

• That a representative body for Inuit businesses be created for the Qikiqtaaluk, Kivalliq, Kitikmeot, and Nunavut-wide, and that it’s given a role to participate in the NNI review process.

• That all municipalities and government-funded agencies including Inuit birthright corporations be required to follow the new Inuit procurement policy.

Former Nunavut cabinet minister Manitok Thompson said this was the first time something useful has come from a meeting like this.

“This meeting was due. It was time to speak up and control a meeting. A lot of times Inuit meetings are very friendly, but now we have a generation wanting to get out of that and want serious meetings,” said Thompson, adding that protest is now more common amongst Inuit.

“At this meeting we were there as business people to shake up whoever we could shake up. And I think we shook up,” said Thompson.

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