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Cablegate: Baghdad Amanat Contract Specialists to Intern With

VZCZCXRO1089
PP RUEHBC RUEHDA RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHKUK
DE RUEHGB #3477 3070910
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 020910Z NOV 08
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0180
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

UNCLAS BAGHDAD 003477

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL KCRS IZ
SUBJECT: BAGHDAD AMANAT CONTRACT SPECIALISTS TO INTERN WITH
US MILITARY CONTRACTING AGENCY

1. SUMMARY: On October 19, the Baghdad Amanat signed a
Memorandum of Understanding with Joint Contracting Command
Iraq/Afghanistan (JCCI/A) to have two of their contract
specialists intern with JCCI/A. This signing is a result of
a partnership between JCCI/A, Provincial Reconstruction
Team-Baghdad (PRT), and the Baghdad Amanat (City Hall). The
Baghdad Amanat is responsible for providing essential
services for Baghdad City and has been executing their
capital budget at a low rate. One of PRT-Baghdad's tasks is
to improve the Amanat's budget execution and the level of
essential services they provide. The PRT was actively
seeking partners to assist in this task and selected JCCI for
this project. The program will give PRT-Baghdad and JCCI/A
insight into how to improve the Amanat's ability to execute
contracts. These lessons may be applicable to improving
budget execution in other GOI authorities as well. END
SUMMARY.

2. JCCI/A, under the command of RDML Dussault, is
responsible for ensuring all contracts for goods,
construction and services that are signed by the US Military
in Iraq and Afghanistan meet quality, fairness, and price
standards. In Iraq there are 15 Regional Contracting Centers
(RCCs). Baghdad RCC (BRCC) alone signs an average of 100
contracts a month for an average of USD 10 million.

3. JCCI/A has undertaken a number of initiatives that have
helped the US mission in Iraq. One of these initiatives
required vendors to accept Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT)
for contract payments over USD 25,000. This action forced
banks in Iraq to begin offering EFT services, which few of
them were offering previously. JCCI/A has also focused its
efforts on the Iraqi First Program. This program gives a
preference to Iraqi vendors for goods and services if their
prices are comparable to those offered by foreign vendors.
This program has resulted in increased local employment, and
has taught many companies how to do business with the U.S.
military. JCCI/A recently began a program to set aside ten
percent of contracts for women owned businesses. BRCC was
the test RCC for this program, and since June 2008 has signed
dozens of contracts in excess of seven million dollars. This
program has recently been implemented nationwide in Iraq.

4. PRT Baghdad has been working to help the Amanat execute
their budget more fully and efficiently, with a primary goal
of helping it provide more essential services to the people
of Baghdad. The PRT's engagements have led us to understand
that they had difficulty with several aspects of budget
execution, one of which was contracting projects. To gain a
greater understanding of the contracting process, the PRT
contacted Major James Clift, Director of the BRCC. These
meetings led to BRCC's proposal to intern Amanat contracting
specialists (KOs) with BRCC to give them an opportunity to
learn about BRCC contracting procedures. The Mayor gave Mr.
Akachan authority to sign the agreement for the Amanat, and
on October 19, he came to BRCC to sign the Memorandum of
Understanding (MOU).

5. The MOU includes several key components. Amanat KOs will
intern in groups of two at BRCC for four three-month periods.
The Amanat will incur no cost for these internships, other
than paying the KOs their regular salaries. The focus of the
internships will be for the KOs to learn about JCCI/A
contracting procedures and best practices.

6. The internship program is designed to emphasize the
practical aspects of the contracting process. The KOs will
focus on executing ICERP projects (projects executed by the
USG for the benefit of the Iraqi government using Iraqi
money). They will also work on USG projects for the benefit
of the Amanat.

7. The MOU is designed to advance PRT Baghdad and JCCI/A
efforts to help the GOI execute their budget in a more timely
and efficient manner. Further, this partnership will allow
both agencies to help the Amanat while minimizing use of
resources.
CROCKER

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