Proposal pushes vendor registration

Federal Register notice

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The civilian and defense acquisition councils are proposing that all vendors doing business with the government be registered in a central database before they can be awarded any federal contract.

The proposed rule would require companies to register in the Central Contractor Registration (CCR) database — something that certain agencies, including the Defense, Transportation and Interior departments, already require.

The problem, according to the April 3 Federal Register notice, is that vendors are forced to submit the same information to the CCR and various contracting and payment offices in agencies not using CCR.

Under the proposed rule, contractors would provide certain business information, including their taxpayer identification number and electronic funds transfer information only once into a common governmentwide repository.

"This proposed rule will not create a total electronic commerce environment, but will help provide a basic framework or foundation that will allow migration to a total electronic commerce environment," the notice said.

It's not clear how many small businesses would be affected by the requirement, the notice said. Approximately 54,199 businesses (42,675 small businesses and 11,524 large businesses) were awarded contracts of $25,000 or more in fiscal 2001, the notice said. "It is estimated that a majority of them will be subject to the rule. Many of these businesses are already among the over 200,000 registrants in CCR," it said.

Comments on the proposed rule must be submitted on or before June 2, 2003.

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