The government will aim to provide small and medium-size firms with public contracts worth a record 5.159 trillion yen during fiscal 1998, the Ministry of International Trade and Industry said July 18.

The figure represents 39.9 percent of all contracts to be provided by the government and a number of semigovernmental organizations. A government guideline, approved July 18 by the Cabinet, calls for increasing opportunities for small and medium-size companies, which are making efforts but have yet to fully recover from the prolonged economic slump.

For instance, it calls on the government to ensure that such companies are well-informed about upcoming public tenders to increase their chances of securing a bid. It also proposes that the government allow companies to form a consortium so they have a fair chance of winning contracts for large-scale public projects.

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