July 13, 1983

I am today signing S. 273, a bill that would amend section 8(a) of the Small Business Act to extend two pilot programs designed to assist minority business development. My approval of this bill demonstrates this administration's continuing commitment to minority business.

S. 273 authorizes the President to select a Federal nondefense agency for a pilot program with the Small Business Administration (SBA) that will direct procurement contracts to minority businesses and thus assist their development. Under the program, SBA will have final authority in selecting the procurements that would best assist the growth of particular minority enterprises.

In addition, S. 273 revives an expired surety bond waiver pilot program and extends it through September 30, 1985. Under this program, SBA would assume the functions and obligations ordinarily performed by a commercial surety company.

The concept behind the 8(a) procurement pilot program is to test whether minority-owned businesses can be advanced through the use of more technically sophisticated, higher volume, and longer term contracts. I believe that this program can be an effective business development tool for small minority enterprises. I will direct SBA and the designated agency to work cooperatively so that this pilot program has a fair and adequate test.

This administration is dedicated to increasing the share of Federal procurement dollars which is placed with minority business. This program can assist us in meeting our minority business development goals as well as assist minority businesses in industries where minorities traditionally have not participated.

Note: As enacted, S. 273 is Public Law 98 - 47, approved July 13.