6The unprecedented demand for electricity in Iraq has prompted the government to seek multifaceted solutions. With the support of USAID-Tarabot, the Ministry of Electricity is moving toward regulatory and policy reforms that will inform the ministry’s strategy for energy efficiency, and focusing its capital investment agenda to ensure the future of energy efficiency and supply in Iraq. Sustainability was foundational to USAID-Tarabot’s training of ministry staff in project management and in providing technical assistance to support the application of engineers’ new skills and knowledge on a pilot project. Tarabot introduced procurement practices in line with international standards and planning methods in coordination with national development goals. To illustrate its ownership of these initiatives and ensure the sustainability of Tarabot’s work, the Government of Iraq allocated $200,000 in cost share funding to support USAID-Tarabot’s activities with the Ministry of Electricity.

Project Management

USAID-Tarabot, in partnership with COMSEC, strengthened the capacity of the Ministry of Electricity by training 69 engineers on modern project management techniques using Project Management Institute (PMI) standards. Training was provided to engineers in PMI processes, estimation techniques and MS Project, feasibility studies, and earned value management. With Tarabot’s assistance, engineers were able to apply their new skills on a project for the construction of the Al Najibiya power station, a project valued at $271 million, in Basrah.

Through Tarabot’s intervention, realistic timelines for project progress were established and ministry engineers were trained to use monitoring and control systems, enabling the ministry to manage project variance, respond to material and labor changes, and measure project performance. Through hands-on application of PMI techniques alongside Tarabot advisors, ministry engineers were able to translate their new knowledge into practice. The power station was completed in May 2014, and benefits three million Iraqis by providing an extra 500kw of power to the national grid, and a few extra hours of electricity each day.

Project Planning

USAID-Tarabot worked in partnership with the Government of Iraq to improve capital investment planning through capacity building and institutional reform measures. With the assistance of Tarabot, ministries are better equipped to select and plan investment projects that maximize value and impact in service delivery, and ensure local projects are coordinated with national priorities as outlined in the National Development Plan 2013–2017.

USAID-Tarabot’s efforts with the Ministry of Electricity focused on the development of criteria for the selection of projects based on cost-benefit analyses of economic, social, financial, spatial, and environmental factors with due consideration for development goals, risk levels, and direct and indirect impacts. To this end, a series of capacity building workshops and on-the-job trainings were held for 41 staff members from the Ministry of Electricity to enable them to use project selection criteria in project planning. The capacity building process consists of three phases: 1) assessing current planning processes, 2) aligning project selection with National Development Plan goals and developing selection criteria, and 3) applying selection criteria in the development of project plans. With the assistance of Tarabot, trained ministry staff applied their project selection and planning knowledge to produce a midterm investment plan to guide the ministry’s capital investment strategy.

To support the management of the ministry’s projects, USAID-Tarabot assisted the Ministry of Electricity to operate the Iraq Development Management System, an online software package for overseeing the ministry’s capital investment cycle. Tarabot provided 26 ministry staff members with training on the system’s initiation and maintenance, including how to update and enter project information into the system, query it for information, and generate reports on projects and their implementation progress.

Public Procurement

USAID-Tarabot, in partnership with the Ministry of Planning, is working with the Government of Iraq to execute its investment budget through fair and transparent procurement systems, enabling a favorable environment for international and domestic businesses and better services for the Iraqi people.

USAID-Tarabot assisted the Ministry of Electricity to reform its public procurement practices to be in compliance with Ministry of Planning requirements and adhere to international best practices. This assistance consisted of training 89 ministry staff in standard procurement processes and the use of standard bidding documents, which have been adopted by the ministry. While equipping ministry staff with these knowledge and tools, Tarabot also worked alongside them to develop 2012 and 2013 procurement plans to guide the ministry’s procurement activities. Tarabot also assisted the ministry in reviewing a tender for the construction of the Al Anbar power plant; thereby, transferring the know-how of how to evaluate public service contracts to Tarabot’s ministerial partners. The project will add 1,500–1,600 megawatts of electricity to the national grid.

Public Policy

USAID-Tarabot worked closely with the Ministry of Electricity to provide tools, models, and technical assistance to develop the Government of Iraq’s capacity to address public policy issues in a systemic way. The Ministry of Electricity assisted by USAID-Tarabot established a policy unit in the Planning and Studies Office, trained its members and directors general on policy process management and analytical methods, and produced the unit’s strategic plan. Together the ministry and USAID-Tarabot also introduced standard operating procedures for the policy unit. With USAID-Tarabot technical assistance the unit developed a public policy for introducing energy efficiency in the electricity sector of Iraq, which was estimated to produce US$7.86 billion in benefits over five years. The ministry is working on the implementation of policy recommendations, namely on establishing the electricity sector regulatory authority.

Regulatory Reform

Many countries in transition face the challenge of broadening the enabling environment to reform and stimulate economic growth and create jobs. Outdated and unnecessary laws and regulations impose efficiency costs on economic activity, while promoting corruption and reducing the government’s ability to deliver services. Tarabot worked to review legislation and regulations and made recommendations for their reform or elimination through an inclusive and transparent process built on extensive stakeholder input.

USAID-Tarabot worked with the Ministry of Electricity to review 17 regulations that affect its work in supplying electricity. For example, Tarabot examined instructions and conditions regarding the structure and process of supplying electricity, reviewed general instructions for the implementation of government contracts, and assessed a law regarding how the ministry should go about collecting payments and/or debts. Other pieces of legislation include the “Commerce Act No. 30 of 1984” and the “Electricity Authority Law.” In partnership with the Ministry of Electricity, Tarabot identified and reviewed outdated laws and regulations that impose efficiency costs on the ministry’s performance in providing electricity services to the Iraqi people, and set forth recommendations for their elimination or reform.