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 Ninawa 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 32 governorate staff members with this knowledge and these tools, Tarabot also worked alongside them to support the development of consultancy and works contracts, and evaluated the request for proposals and use of standard bidding documents.
Four tenders were developed with the support of Tarabot: 1) the design and construction of a secondary school and a high school, valued at $120 million; 2) the design of a civilian airplane, which was awarded to an international company; 3) the design of a bridge on the Tigris river, valued at $6 million, and awarded to a local firm; and 4) the design of a water network in Ninawa to provide more than one million residents with potable water. The joint preparation of these tenders enabled governorate staff to apply standardized procurement practices on actual public works contracts. The advertisement of these tenders was done through the governorate’s website and dgMarket.
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.
Tarabot also introduced systems for managing procurement documents and reporting to strengthen accountability and transparency in the governorate’s procurement activities, and supported the governorate in developing procurement plans for 2012 and 2013 to guide their procurement activities.
USAID-Tarabot, in partnership with COMSEC, strengthened the capacity of the Governorate of Ninawa 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, and feasibility studies.
With Tarabot’s assistance, engineers went on to apply their new skills on two projects: 1) the construction of the Al Najar Iqtisadeen Bridge, budgeted at $16 million; and 2) the Baghdad-Dahuk road project, budgeted at $1.2 million. Through hands-on application alongside Tarabot advisors, governorate engineers were able to translate their new knowledge into practice.
In the early stages of planning, the Al Najar Iqtisadeen Bridge project was estimated to be completed in 800 days. Using the PMI methodology, project engineers discovered a lack of deadlines and milestones, and poor documentation of project requirements, which would negatively impact the development of a master schedule and prevent the timely completion of the project. Engineers, using standardized PMI forms, developed the project charter and required documentation, as well as estimated the budget of the project. This bridge project will handle nearly 1,500 cars per hour to alleviate the daily traffic jams experienced in the area, and lessen the likelihood of car accidents. The project has been stalled due to the current security situation in the province.
The Baghdad-Dahuk road project was experiencing time variations that were preventing it from being completed on time. Working alongside Tarabot advisors, engineers developed a new master schedule to track project status and to enable the project team to identify deficiencies in implementation and take corrective actions quickly. The successful application of MS Project to solve scheduling slippage resulted in an official order from the governor for the expanded use of the techniques across the governorate’s capital investment portfolio. This road project will handle more than 7,000 vehicles a day, mitigating the traffic jams experienced by drivers every day as they travel between Baghdad and Dahuk. The project has been stalled due to the current security situation in the province.
The Governorate of Ninawa has embraced the project management systems promoted by Tarabot through the establishment of a Project Management Office, which will oversee capital investment projects and ensure effective implementation through the use of internationally recognized methodologies.
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, governorates 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 Governorate of Ninawa 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 four staff members from the Governorate of Ninawa to enable them to use project selection criteria in project planning. The capacity building program delivered by Tarabot consisted 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.
In cooperation with the Ministry of Provincial Affairs, USAID-Tarabot helped to establish a Provincial Projects Steering Committee in Ninawa to promote coordination in planning. This committee brought together officials from the line ministries, governorate offices, and other provincial stakeholders to discuss and select projects that would be most beneficial for the provinces.
Project planning in Iraq has historically suffered from poor coordination, resulting in the redundancy of projects and poor matching of national objectives and the needs of citizens. This is partially a result of a dual budget system, in which ministries build infrastructure in the provinces using national capital investment funds while governorate offices implement their own projects through a separate regional development fund. Under this arrangement, ministries and governorate offices implemented projects independently of one another, with little to no coordination.
The Governorate of Ninawa completed the three stages of the USAID-Tarabot capacity building and on-the-job training program, and submitted a project list developed through the steering committees using USAID-Tarabot’s project selection criteria. This list demonstrated improved coordination among stakeholders, and more closely reflect national and local development goals.
Iraq Development Management System
To support the management of the governorate’s projects, USAID-Tarabot assisted the Governorate of Ninawa 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 nine 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.