Efforts To Improve Management of U.S. Foreign Aid--Changes Made and Changes Needed

ID-79-14: Published: Mar 29, 1979. Publicly Released: Mar 29, 1979.

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The Agency for International Development (AID) has improved the management of its worldwide programs, but its efforts should be intensified to assure that the U.S. economic development assistance objectives are effectively achieved.

AID has improved its process for drawing up and evaluating its annual operating expense budget prior to submission to the Congress. However, the question of proper grade levels for Bureau controllers and the size and makeup of their staffs needs to be resolved. Although AID has taken several steps to improve property management, frequent staff turnovers and vacancies hamper the ability of the missions to comply with the new regulations. The most serious problem is lack of control by management over nonexpendable property. AID is improving internal controls over outstanding travel advances. AID is placing greater emphasis on awarding grants and contracts on a competitive basis and giving more consideration to firms owned by minorities and women. The AID policy to review annually the economic status of countries with significant outstanding loans balances with potential renegotiation for accelerated loan repayment in mind has not been carried out aggressively. Neither has AID developed adequate criteria for identifying countries economically capable of accelerating repayment of outstanding concessional loans.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The AID Administrator should: (1) define the role and authority of geographic Bureau Controllers, justify their grade levels, and ascertain their staffing requirements; (2) institute a policy which would apply Washington oversight controls over missions unable to control administration of their missions because of staff turnover, personnel absences, or staff shortages; (3) develop policies and procedures to minimize the negative effect of staff turnover, staff absences, and failure to have knowledgeable personnel at missions at all times; (4) require that established travel regulations are implemented uniformly worldwide; (5) intensify training for project officers in the overseas missions to assure that contract and grant procedures can be properly applied; (6) require close monitoring of the accelerated loan repayment policy; (7) encourage a dialogue relative to seeking early repayment of concessional loans made to European countries by predecessor agencies; (8) require that close monitoring be maintained over efforts made at overseas posts to support full adherence with the Bellmon Amendment provisions; and (9) develop guidelines to help missions determine what constitutes adequate storage facilities for comparison with less-developed countries' actual inventory of storage facilities.

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