USAID-Tarabot worked with the Ministry of Oil to implement administrative reforms through capacity building, institutional changes, and service delivery reengineering. Sustainability was foundational to USAID-Tarabot’s approach in training ministry staff to better plan and execute their capital investment budget, improve management of projects, and provide streamlined services. Capacity building was followed by hands-on application to deepens skills learned, as demonstrated by the application of project management techniques on the construction of an oil depot in Maysan. The ministry has also completed major steps towards developing a One-Stop-Shop service center for its Baghdad Oil Products Distribution Company, which will provide a range of integrated services in one location. To illustrate its ownership of these initiatives and ensure the sustainability of USAID-Tarabot’s work, the Government of Iraq allocated $75,000 in cost share funding to support USAID-Tarabot’s activities with the Ministry of Oil.
USAID-Tarabot, in partnership with COMSEC, strengthened the capacity of the Ministry of Oil to more efficiently implement its capital investment budget by training 37 engineers on modern project management techniques using Project Management Institute (PMI) standards. Training was provided to engineers in PMI processes, estimation techniques and Microsoft Project, feasibility studies, and earned value management. With Tarabot’s assistance, engineers went on to apply their new skills on a project for the construction of an oil depot in Maysan, budgeted at $82.5 million. USAID-Tarabotintervened to help engineers develop standardized procedures for the project’s closing phase and the roles and responsibilities for those involved in this stage of the project. Through hands-on application of these techniques alongside Tarabot advisors, ministry engineers were able to translate their knowledge into practice and keep the project on schedule. Tarabot also assisted the ministry to plan for the construction of a gas pipeline in Kirkuk, which will provide the governorate with cooking fuel. The project lacked systems in place to sequence its work schedule, placing its timely completion in jeopardy. Tarabot assisted ministry engineers to develop a work breakdown structure and network diagram to achieve a master work schedule. The project has since been stalled due to security reasons.
USAID-Tarabot also supported 20 ministry engineers to prepare them for certification as Project Management Professionals (PMP) through a 35-hour training course and simulation exercises. The 35-hour course is a pre-requisite for registering with the PMI to take the PMP exam. Engineers are now equipped with the techniques, skills, and knowledge required for certification, ensuring the anchoring of sound project management practices within the Ministry of Oil.
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 Oil in the architectural design of its service center, development of a service guide manual and terms of reference, and training in the principles of customer service. Additionally, Tarabot developed a request for proposals for the procurement of software to streamline and automate all services provided by the Baghdad Oil Products Distribution Company, and assisted the company in developing a request for proposals for construction services to build the service center. Tarabot helped the ministry to map and reengineer services for the facility, and 11 services pertaining to petroleum distribution are expected to be provided in the One-Stop-Shop. All the essential elements of Tarabot’s One-Stop-Shop assistance have been completed, and a site has been selected for its construction. The implementation of the ministry’s service center is pending the approval of the Iraqi budget.
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 worked with the Ministry of Oil to support the development and adoption of standardized procurement processes, and procedures and mechanisms for annual procurement planning in line with international standards. While equipping 56 ministry staff with this knowledge and these tools, Tarabot also supported the ministry in developing procurement plans for 2012 and 2013 to guide their procurement activities.
Iraq Development Management System
To support the management of the ministry’s projects, USAID-Tarabot assisted the Ministry of Oil to operate the Iraq Development Management System (IDMS), an online software package for overseeing and managing the ministry’s capital investment cycle. The system serves as a reliable and credible source of information on the distribution of development projects according to sector, location, and implementing institution. The IDMS feeds information for planning into the decision-making process, and illuminates project implementation performance by ministry, sector, or individual projects. This information allows government officials to make wiser decisions with its capital investment resources, and to better identify and address any weaknesses in implementation. This critical step in modernizing Iraq’s public administration contributes to improved efficiency in the capital investment cycle, and promotes transparency and accountability in the allocation of development funds.
Tarabot provided 6 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.
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 Oil reviewed 14 business-related regulations that affect the oil sector in Iraq with the support of USAID-Tarabot’s Iraq Solution for Regulatory and Administrative Reform (ISRAR) initiative. Legislation reviewed included the “Law to Impose Income Tax on Foreign Oil Companies Contracting for Work in Iraq No. (19) for the year 2010” and the “Companies Act No. 22 of 1997.” In partnership with the Ministry of Oil, Tarabot identified outdated laws and regulations that hamper economic and private sector growth, and set forth recommendations for their elimination or reform.