Policies and legislation define the context within which infrastructure development and service delivery are to take place, and greatly influence the degree in which local authorities are able to carry out proper management and the local private sector and community organisations are able to participate in planning, implementation and subsequent operation and maintenance. In many countries, policies and legislation related to infrastructure development and service delivery (especially procurement and enterprise legislation) are aimed at larger companies, and the main objective is to ensure transparency and avoid corruption. In doing so, however, a number of obstacles tend to be created that severely limit participation of the local private sector or community organisations and that severely complicate contract management. As a result, small local projects tend to be avoided as these have high management costs for contracting agencies and the local actors that are interested in such contracts, are unable to participate.

Cartier Consult has been involved in a number of countries in the analysis of existing policies and legislation to determine their impact on the participation of the local private sector and community organisations, as well as on the overall management by local authorities. This has led to recommendations related to the amendment of certain legislation in order to stimulate local participation and facilitate the implementation of projects aimed at addressing people's immediate needs. These amendments do not aim to undermine the objectives of transparency and anti-corruption, but rather seek alternative ways to ensure these issues while at the same time enabling the participation of local actors as well as larger companies. Many of the proposed amendments are also related to countries' policies regarding employment generation, where micro- and small enterprises are responsible for the majority of existing jobs, and the facilitation of the registration and operation of these enterprises and their access to contracts and markets should form a pivotal role in any employment policy. Apart from such general public procurement and employment policies, Cartier Consult is also involved in post-crisis situations, promoting policies that aim to combine reconstruction with employment generation and the injection of much needed incomes into affected communities, thus allowing people to rebuild their livelihoods.

Policies and legislation

In Paraguay, Cartier Consult was involved in the analysis of existing policies and legislation and the recommendation of amendments, especially regarding the procurement legislation and related regulations. This focused on the access of micro- and small enterprises to public procurement contracts, especially at the local level. Existing procurement legislation had been recently amended to improve transparency and avoid corruption, and had created a number of obstacles limiting the participation of local enterprises.

The recommended amendments included changes to the procurement law, for instance the use of simple copies of the required documents for bidders instead of costly notarized copies which are only necessary for the selected bidder (and can thus be required at a later stage, stimulating greater competition in the bidding stage). Recommendations also included changes to legislation regarding enterprise creation and operation, especially in light of the single-window concept being introduced, allowing the registration of new enterprises and associations within a short period and at minimal cost. This stimulates the formalisation of economic entities and enables them to participate in public procurement processes. A number of these recommendations were adopted by the Paraguayan government as a means of stimulating competition and economic development.

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