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 Governorate of Wasit 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 114 governorate staff members with this knowledge and these tools, Tarabot also worked alongside them to support the design and development of more than 20 consultancy and works contracts, including a contract for the rehabilitation of a neighborhood complete with water and sewage networks, electricity, and paved roads, valued at $33 million. This contract was awarded to an international firm.
Tarabot supported the governorate in subscribing to dgMarket, an open source international web portal for the announcement of tenders, a tool that enables the governorate to advertise contracts in a fair, open, and consistent manner. Since the governorate signed onto dgMarket in 2012, it has posted more than 170 tenders, at an estimated value of more than $160 million, through this venue. This site enabled the widening of the pool of expertise responding to the procurement needs of the governorate.
Tarabot helped the governorate to develop procurement plans for 2012 and 2013 to guide their procurement activities; draft a sustainability plan to ensure the anchoring of sound practices; and adopt standard bidding documents. Tarabot also supported the creation of systems for managing procurement documents and reporting to strengthen accountability and transparency in the governorate’s procurement activities.
USAID-Tarabot, in partnership with COMSEC, strengthened the capacity of the Governorate of Najaf to more efficiently implement its capital investment budget by training 95 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, and feasibility studies.
With Tarabot’s assistance, engineers went on to apply their new skills on over a dozen projects. One such project was the construction of the Nassije Street and Al Mutanabi Square, a road and city square that would alleviate traffic volume while also providing new sidewalks and a water fountain for residents. A multi-phase project budgeted at $13.7 million, the project suffered from delays because there was no sequencing of activities during its planning phase. Using MS Project techniques, engineers were able to develop a master schedule to overcome deficiencies in scheduling throughout the project phases. The effective application of this technique set a precedent for the value of MS Project, resulting in the governor’s request to expand its use across the governorate’s capital investment portfolio.
As the political and security situation in Iraq becomes increasingly insecure, large numbers of internally displaced persons are relocating to the southern and eastern provinces. To accommodate approximately 4, 560 displaced persons in the province, the governorate allocated $32 million for the construction of a 670 low-cost housing units in the Al Wafed neighborhood. An additional $9 million has been allocated for the construction of 300 housing units for people in need. The construction of these housing units also includes electricity and sewage infrastructure, as well as a network of paved roads. These critical projects were suffering from delays due to a lack of deadlines, and an overestimation of the budget. With the support of Tarabot, engineers were able to use MS Project to set milestones, and develop a master schedule to track variation. The project is underway and recent reports reflect that it is on schedule for completion.
To accommodate the growing student population in Dijilah district, the Governorate of Wasit budgeted over $1 million for the construction of a mulit-storied school with 18 classrooms and two sports facilities. The project was under execution and experiencing delays when the governor requested engineers to use MS Project to reduce scheduling variations and set milestones. The project is underway and on schedule, and will benefit 150 students.
Tarabot strengthened the governorate’s Project Management Office by introducing new organizational structures and training engineers in Project Management Institute (PMI) techniques. With improved capacity, the office more effectively oversees capital investment projects and ensures implementation through the use of internationally recognized methodologies.
Tarabot also supported 14 governorate 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 in the governorate.
Iraq Development Management System
To support the management of the governorate’s projects, USAID-Tarabot assisted the Governorate of Wasit to operate the Iraq Development Management System (IDMS), an online software package for overseeing and managing the governorate’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 entity, 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 10 governorate 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.