USAID-Tarabot worked with the Ministry of Transport 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 strengthen public procurement practices. Capacity building was followed by hands-on application to deepen skills learned and setting a precedent for success. To illustrate ownership of these initiatives and ensure the sustainability of Tarabot’s work, the Government of Iraq allocated $309,240 in cost share funding to support USAID-Tarabot’s activities with the Ministry of Transport.
USAID-Tarabot, in partnership with COMSEC, strengthened the capacity of the Ministry of Transport to more efficiently implement its capital investment budget by training 43 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 went on to apply their new skills on a project for the construction of a multi-storied administrative compound in Baghdad that will oversee the national public transportation system, budgeted at $23.2 million. The project suffered from inaccurate scheduling estimates and time slippage as the original scheduling did not account for non-work days, did not include progress milestones, and did not account for risks. Tarabot intervened with the application of MS Project to reschedule the project and identify milestones to facilitate its timely completion. The project is under construction and will house 400 operations staff from the ministry.
Tarabot also supported two ministry engineers to prepare them for certification as Project Management Professionals (PMP) through a 35-hour training course and simulation exercises. The course is a pre-requisite for registering with the PMI and to take the PMP exam. Through this program, engineers were equipped with the techniques, skills, and knowledge required for certification, ensuring the anchoring of sound project management practices within the Ministry of Transport.
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 Transport to support the development and adoption of standardized procurement processes, standard bidding documents, and mechanisms for annual procurement planning. While equipping 171 ministry staff with this knowledge and these tools, Tarabot also worked alongside them to help prepare prequalification documents, design the terms of reference, and evaluate the request for proposals for the design and construction of vessels and tug boats valued at US$380 million. The joint preparation of this tender by Tarabot and ministry staff enabled them to apply standardized procurement practices on an actual public works contract. Tarabot conducted bid opening and evaluation workshops for ministry staff to support the release of this tender, and provided technical assistance in drafting and posting invitations for prequalification.
Tarabot helped the ministry to subscribe to and advertise the tender on dgMarket, an open source international web portal for the announcement of contracts. The tender was advertised in July 2013, and received 23 expressions of interest; it was awarded to an international shipping firm in December of that year. Through the tendering and award of this contract, the Ministry of Transport has successfully adopted and applied new procurement practices, including the use of standard bidding documents, promoted by Tarabot throughout the entire procurement cycle.
Tarabot also supported the ministry in the creation of systems for managing procurement documents and reporting on procurement activities, facilitating accountability in recordkeeping and enhancing transparency in the ministry’s contracting practices and processes. Procurement plans were also drafted for the years 2012, 2013, and 2014 with Tarabot’s assistance to guide the ministry’s procurement activities.
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 as outlined in the National Development Plan 2013–2017.
USAID-Tarabot’s efforts with the Ministry of Transport 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 42 staff members from the Ministry of Transport to enable them to apply 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.
To support the management of the ministry’s projects, USAID-Tarabot assisted the Ministry of Transport to operate the Iraq Development Management System, an online software package for overseeing the ministry’s capital investment cycle. Tarabot provided 37 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 Transport reviewed 15 business-related regulations with the assistance of USAID-Tarabot’s Iraq Solution for Regulatory and Administrative Reform (ISRAR) initiative. Legislations reviewed include the “Law for Iraqi Airways No. 108 of 1988” and the “Law of the General Company for Land Transport No. 115 of 1971.” In partnership with the Ministry of Transport, Tarabot identified outdated laws and regulations that hamper economic and private sector growth, and set forth recommendations for their elimination or reform.
Center of Excellence
The Iraq Center for Excellence in Government (ICEG), formed under COMSEC, is the culmination of years of effort by USAID-Tarabot and its predecessor, Tatweer, to improve the performance of Iraqi government entities. It is a public entity that encourages leadership and innovation in service delivery by providing frameworks and guidelines for organizational management and institutional capacity development through the application of the Excellence model, which consists of seven criteria in the areas of leadership, people, knowledge, strategy, resources, processes, and results. The Excellence model provides a holistic view of an entity and how these elements relate to one another to affect organizational performance and results achieved.
With the assistance of USAID-Tarabot, assessments were made of all capacity development initiatives accomplished with the Ministry of Transport and the General Company of Ports of Iraq in the areas of quality management and organizational development to support their adoption of the Excellence model. Ongoing technical support was provided to both entities in the documentation and review of organizational processes to implement long term, high impact plans in service delivery along Excellence guidelines. Tarabot recommended two services for process re-engineering: 1) to reduce time in processing complaints made by suppliers, contractors, and citizens; and 2) in receiving responses from responsible authorities. To enable ministry staff to identify opportunities and gaps in organizational development and service delivery, Tarabot trained 126 ministry staff members on the application of the Excellence model. Additionally, two-year institutional development plans were also created for the ministry, which will guide the ministry’s objectives in establishing the Excellence model.