Sunday, June 16, 2013

Pay-Out Of Accrued Vacation Leave on USAID Programs

This one is about paying out the untaken vacation leave at the end of the tour on USAID programs and with thanks to Babylonia for asking the question.
Obviously, this should be easy, right?  Right, of course it is.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


In a General Notice issued by GC, EGAT and OAA on April 3, 2012, it states that USAID’s Administrator has approved a Construction Policy for USAID.  As of today, we are unaware that this policy has been incorporated into an Acquisition and Assistance Policy Directive or made part of the Agency’s Automated Directives System, even though it has some major impacts to how USAID implements programs with a construction component. 

Highlights include the use of a mandated instrument as follows:

USAID must use a direct contract when the award is solely for construction or the award includes construction activities as some portion of all award activities, providing that:

1.         The estimated cost of construction activities at a single project site is $500,000

 or more, or

2.         The total aggregate estimated cost of construction activities under the award is

                     $10,000,000 or more.

For USAID Recipients (grantees), inclusion of construction activities is no longer permitted in grant awards.  However, you may include construction activities in cooperative agreements, with the following conditions:

-           The award complies with the requirements of ADS 221 USAID’s Procedures for Implementing International Agreements for Tied and Untied Aid;
-           The CA must expressly state that no construction activities other than those explicitly approved under the agreement may be performed as part of the cooperative agreement;
-           Construction activities must be explicit in the budget;
-           A term of substantial involvement must be the right of the Agreement Officer’s Representative (AOR) to halt construction; and
-           The construction activities are only a portion of all award activities and 1) the estimated cost of construction activities at a single project site is less than $500,000 and; 2) the total aggregate estimated cost of construction activities under the award is less than  $10,000,000.

As written in the General Notice, the Procurement Executive can waive the established limits above.

Some exemptions to this new policy are included for Fixed Amount Reimbursement Agreements, Development Credit Authority instruments and Public International Organizations or grants to other bilateral donors. 

Other waivers to this policy include:  1) Construction activities carried out under Food for Peace for disaster relief (including that using program income and monetized proceeds); 2) Construction activities carried out by DCHA/OTI through Grants Under Contracts (e.g., SWIFT) to the extent current practice is maintained;   3) Construction activities conducted by DCHA/OFDA; 4) Construction activities carried out by the West Bank/Gaza Mission and; 5) Construction activities conducted by DCHA/ASHA have already been provided waivers to this new policy

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

"Sharing is Nice" (Your Mum)

In these times of austerity in Government contracts and grants and scarce funding, the more and more importance is given to cost saving techniques by contractors and grantees.

The question has come up about regulatory framework for sharing costs, facilities etc. in the same country of performance between multiple USAID and non-USAID projects performed by the same organization or even two different organizations.

The scary audit-speak concept of “co-mingling funds” can be avoided through careful planning and appropriate procedures in advance of sharing of any kind.  Done right, it yields savings to all parties, reduces waste and uses resources efficiently – all the points that will hopefully be reflected under “cost control” evaluation factors on your next CPR or grant performance accolades.