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Cablegate: Iraq Signs Memorandum of Understanding With

VZCZCXYZ0002
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHGB #3216/01 2791202
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 051202Z OCT 08
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 9800

UNCLAS BAGHDAD 003216

AIDAC
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID PGOV ECON PINR ENRG EPET IZ

SUBJECT: IRAQ SIGNS MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING WITH
USAID FOR ELECTRICITY SECTOR CAPACITY BUILDING

1. SUMMARY: Iraq's Minister of Electricity, Dr.Karim
Hasan, and Christopher Crowley, Mission Director for
the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)
in Iraq, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on
10 September 2008, in support of the Ministry's vision
to strengthen its management and services to improve
Iraqis' quality of life and accelerate the national
economy. USAID's work with the MoE in the past few
months has emphasized institutionalizing safety and
work force development, including human resources job
descriptions, government accounting training, the
public management cycle program and project
management. The four working groups already underway
and receiving USAID assistance seek to make practical,
tangible progress at installing managerial capacity
within the Ministry of Electricity. END SUMMARY.

BACKGROUND: After many months of collaboration, the
MOU cements the commitment of the USG to continue
assisting the MoE in improving administrative systems
and training with an emphasis on fiscal management,
budget preparation and execution, procurement and
project management. Ambassador Marc Wall, Coordinator
for Economic Transition in Iraq; Karen Aguilar,
Director, Iraq Transition and Assistance Office; and
Brigadier Hamish McNinch, Director of Energy
Operations, Energy Fusion Cell, also attended the
ceremony. The MOU marks a milestone in the
relationship between the Iraqi Ministry of Electricity
(MoE) and the USG.


-----------------------------------
USAID'S EFFORTS IN THE NEXT 90 DAYS
-----------------------------------
3. USAID's work with the MoE in the past few months
has emphasized institutionalizing safety and work
force development, including human resources job
descriptions, government accounting training, the
public management cycle program and project
management. The MoE organized four working groups
with USAID to tackle this range of projects:

a. Operations and Maintenance (O&M) - A core group of
three MoE managers plus staff from 20 MoE generating
plants will be working with the O&M Work Group to
improve computerized inventory, maintenance management
and safety operations at power plants. The expected
outcome is the establishment of an institutionalized
culture and structure of safety practices in MoE
planning, operations and human resources development.
The work group received the MoE budget for safety for
the next three years as follow-up to the work group
meeting on 20 August 2008. The MoE's budget totals
$900 million and is targeted to cover all MoE
facilities across the country.

b. Regulatory Commission - This work group will
support development of a regulatory structure for
electric sector operations and establish tariffs. A
seminar was held on 24-28 August 2008, for senior MoE
management to study various aspects of regulation.
This seminar pointed out activities within the MoE
that will need substantial strengthening in order to
make regulation work. Understanding the functions of
regulation will enable the MoE to convert its data
into useful information for reporting and measuring
performance and control.

c. Human Resources (HR) - The group is tasked to
prepare job descriptions for the MoE. Specific
departments have been selected as pilot areas for the
developing of job descriptions and career development.
The work group developed a work plan that has been
approved and is currently being implemented to collect
data about the jobs in order to design a job
description model. Ministry groups collected the job
data on the specially designed questionnaire in four
pilot departments. The HR Work Group will analyze the
data as a step toward developing correct job
descriptions within the pilot departments. The second
output of data collection and analysis is the career
development of the personnel at the selected
departments.

d. Energy Planning - The objective of this work group
is to improve energy-sector planning through
collaborative activities between the Ministries of Oil
and Electricity. Nominees from each ministry have
been named and the work group has drafted strategic
guidelines and a task plan for this critical group.

The joint workshops for Integrated Supply Chain
Management and Project Management have also been
helpful in exposing middle management from the two
ministries to common problems and the need for joint
planning. One example of the joint planning starting
to bear fruit is the Ministry of Oil has included in
its 10-year plan a provision to supply every
electrical facility with the appropriate amount of
fuel.

4. COMMENT: With elections approaching and essential
services still lagging, improved service delivery of
electricity is critical. This memorandum of
understanding underscores the level of trust and the
positive relationship between the U.S. Mission and the
GoI on this sensitive matter. The memorandum respects
Iraqi sovereignty while laying the foundation for
helping institutionalize progress and building
capacity within the Ministry of Electricity. The four
working groups already underway seek to make
practical, tangible progress towards installing
improved managerial capacity within the Ministry.
Nevertheless, this ministry needs to make rapid and
substantial performance improvements if it is to
fulfill its contribution to the success of the new
Iraq.

CROCKER

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