AID Slow in Dealing With Project Planning and Implementation Problems

ID-80-33: Published: Jul 15, 1980. Publicly Released: Jul 15, 1980.

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The Agency for International Development (AID) finances hundreds of millions of dollars annually in the procurement of commodities for foreign aid projects for developing countries.

Problems in planning procurements and monitoring project implementation still exist. Despite recommendations by GAO and others, including AID management teams, to improve project monitoring effectiveness: (1) project milestones are still not being met effectively, and (2) identified management problems are not being attended to properly. Delays in ordering and receiving project commodities occur because AID management has not adequately planned procurements, project officers are not adequately trained in procurement and supply management matters, and AID has not issued clear instructions on project implementation. Unnecessary procurement costs are incurred because AID does not have information on the total amount and the types of commodities purchased for financed projects. As a result, AID is not able to obtain the benefits associated with the standardization of items used on projects and the consolidation and advance purchase of selected common-use commodities. For some types of commodities, GAO identified uneconomical expenditures in excess of $600,000 that could have been avoided through closer management of commodity procurement. AID officials recognize the problems; however, action to improve planning and project monitoring has been slow.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

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

    Recommendation: The Administrator of AID should assure that the geographic bureaus increase efforts for finding solutions to problems that continue to inhibit the process of delivering economic assistance to developing countries, and assure that studies undertaken for that purpose produce usable products. He should direct those responsible for agencywide coordination to follow up on such efforts, including speedy issuance of adequate monitoring guidance. He should reemphasize the need for adequate project planning, including development of time-phased procurement plans and schedules, at the earliest possible stage in the project design process in clear and explicit guidance to AID personnel responsible for project design and approval. The Administrator should: establish a procedure to assure that AID project officers going overseas receive mandatory training in procurement, contracting, and supply-management matters; require full use, during the project design stage, of AID personnel already trained in procurement, contracting, and supply-management matters; establish an accounting and reporting system that includes systematic collection and analysis of information on project commodities for commodity-management purposes; authorize pilot experiments for seeking more prudent and economical procurements of AID-financed commodities through wider application of recognized procurement principles; and enforce appropriate price checks of project commodity purchases.

    Agency Affected:

 

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