FedWire

GSA pilots small biz e-mall

To increase procurement opportunities for small and disadvantaged businesses, the General Services Administration has launched a pilot World Wide Web site through SmallBizMall.gov.

The pilot portal, at www.8amall.com, gives small businesses a location to fulfill orders via the Web and offers agencies a central location to find small-business vendors, according to Sandra Bates, commissioner of the GSA's Federal Technology Service.

At an April 11 hearing of the House Small Business Committee, vendors and agency officials expressed concern that e-procurement and e-commerce practices may prohibit small businesses from competing for government contracts.

E-gov spending to boom

Spending on electronic government initiatives will more than quadruple over the next five years, according to analysts from Gartner Group Inc.

As they move toward e-government, agencies at the federal, state and local levels will spend $1.5 billion this year on hardware, software, and internal and external services. That spending is expected to reach $6.2 billion by 2005.

"Through 2004, more than 50 percent of all e-government will fail based on the services citizens will be getting in the private sector," said French Caldwell, research director for Gartner Group.

Farmers closer to online filing

The House of Representatives approved a bill last week to allow farmers and ranchers doing business with the Agriculture Department to file federal forms online. The House approved the Freedom to E-File Act (S. 777) by a vote of 397-1. It was passed by the Senate in November 1999 and now moves on to the president for enactment.

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