USAID-Tarabot worked with the Ministry of Municipalities and Public Works to improve service delivery through administrative reforms. Sustainability was foundational to USAID-Tarabot’s approach in training ministry staff to better plan and execute their capital investment budget, improve service delivery processes, and review regulations with the goal of eliminating those that are ineffective and outdated. Capacity building was followed by hands-on application that deepens skills learned and sets a precedent for success. To illustrate ownership of these initiatives and ensure the sustainability of Tarabot’s work, the Government of Iraq allocated $2,147,200 in cost share funding to support USAID-Tarabot’s activities with the Ministry of Municipalities and Public Works.
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 that local projects are coordinated with national priorities.
USAID-Tarabot’s efforts with the Ministry of Municipalities and Public Works 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 64 staff members from the Ministry of Municipalities and Public Works 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 develop a project plan using established selection criteria.
To support the management of the ministry’s projects, USAID-Tarabot assisted the Ministry of Municipalities and Public Works to operate the Iraq Development Management System, an online software package used to manage the ministry’s capital investment cycle. Specific activities include assisting the ministry to upgrade hardware to effectively operate the system, and installing the IDMS software. Tarabot provided 40 ministry staff members with training on the system’s initiation and maintenance. With Tarabot’s assistance, the ministry has completed the upload of its 2011, 2012, and 2013 records.
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 Municipalities and Public Works to support the development and adoption of standardized procurement processes, standard bidding documents, and mechanisms for annual procurement planning in line with international standards. While equipping 157 ministry staff with these knowledge and tools, Tarabot also worked alongside them to help them prepare the terms of reference and evaluate the request for proposals for a consulting services contract for the design of a One-Stop-Shop, valued at $1.5 million dollars. The joint preparation of this tender by Tarabot and ministry staff enabled them to apply standardized procurement practices on an actual contract for consultancy services. Tarabot also aided the ministry in subscribing to dgMarket, an open access international web portal for the announcement of contracts, through which the tender was advertised. This tool will enable the ministry to advertise contracts in a fair, open, and consistent manner. Five expressions of interest were received for this announcement, and three companies were shortlisted for services. Through the tendering of this contract, the Ministry of Municipalities and Public Works has undergone essential steps of the procurement process led by Tarabot.
Tarabot also assisted the ministry in completing its 2012 and 2013 procurement plans to guide the ministry’s procurement activities, and the adoption of standard bidding documents. Tarabot also supported the creation of systems for managing procurement documents and reporting to strengthen accountability and transparency in the ministry’s procurement activities.
USAID-Tarabot, in partnership with COMSEC, strengthened the capacity of the Ministry of Municipalities and Public Works to more efficiently implement its capital investment budget by training 141 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.
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.
The Ministry of Municipalities and Public Works reviewed 116 business-related regulations with the assistance of USAID-Tarabot’s Iraq Solution for Regulatory and Administrative Reform (ISRAR) initiative. Legislations reviewed include the “Law Regulating Commercial Agency Number (51) for the year 2000” and the “Law of System of Roads and Buildings, No. 44 of 1935.” In partnership with the Ministry of Municipalities and Public Works, Tarabot identified outdated laws and regulations, and set forth recommendations for their elimination or reform.
In consultation with the ministry, ISRAR also developed a set of reforms based on international best practices for the issuance of construction permits, including transferring approvals for some building permits to local government offices, providing automatic approvals if a decision is not made within a certain deadline, and assigning a single employee to handle a building application from start to finish. These recommendations are currently under review by the Ministries of Municipalities and Public Works and Construction and Housing before being forwarded to the Prime Minister’s Advisory Council for final review.
USAID-Tarabot introduced the One-Stop-Shop service center model, in partnership with COMSEC, to address the long lines and complicated procedures that plague service delivery in order to improve citizen services in Iraq. Tarabot’s service centers are founded on three pillars: 1) appropriate physical infrastructure based on international standards, 2) effective and efficient automated systems through business process re-engineering, and 3) public accountability and citizen-oriented services through customer service awareness and training.
USAID-Tarabot assisted the Ministry of Municipalities and Public Works in the architectural design of its service center, development of a service guide manual and terms of reference, and training ministry staff in customer service principles. Additionally, Tarabot developed a request for proposals for the procurement of software to streamline and automate all services provided by the ministry. All the essential elements of Tarabot’s One-Stop-Shop assistance have been completed, and the implementation of the ministry’s One-Stop-Shop is pending approval of the Iraqi budget.