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Native 8(a) Works coalition finds much to support in GAO report

Today’s report on the participation of Alaska Native corporations and Tribal firms in the Small Business Administration’s 8(a) program by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) contains little that’s new and is in essence an update to a 2006 report on Alaska Native contracting. It is important to note that most of the issues raised by the GAO are related to SBA and agency oversight. The Native 8(a) Works coalition has long advocated that Congress provide adequate resources for the SBA and agencies to effectively monitor and oversee the program.

"Alaska Native corporations participating in the 8(a) program embrace additional oversight and monitoring," said Will Anderson, president & CEO of Koniag, Inc. "Alaska Native corporations participating in 8(a) program have a proven track record of increasing dividends for Native shareholders, economic development in rural communities as well as job and educational opportunities for shareholders. It’s a program that is working as Congress intended."

The GAO report identified important benefits that the federal government receives from the 8(a) program. These include the ability of the federal government to award contacts in a manner that saves time and money and successfully meets small business development goals. Contracting through the 8(a) program also allows contracting officers to negotiate cost savings before the contract is awarded, delivering an added value to American taxpayers.

Just as Congress intended when it included Alaska Native corporations (ANCs), Tribes and Native Hawaiian Organizations in the program, 8(a) contracting has proven transformational for Native communities nationwide. Native contracting has brought benefits to Native shareholders and communities in some of the most socially and economically disadvantaged regions in the United States. While Tribal, ANC and Native Hawaiian awards represent approximately one percent of all federal contracts, ANCs consistently demonstrate a track record of delivering increasing economic benefits, educational scholarships and job training opportunities to shareholders.

Native 8(a) contracting delivers meaningful benefits - and good value to America. Learn more about the program and read examples of ANCs delivering benefits to Native shareholders by visiting www.Native8aWorks.org.

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