By Walter Pincus Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, October 4, 2010; 8:25 PM
The United States has developed an ambitious plan to help Iraq reorganize its civil service of 3 million employees, including promoting a decentralized system that establishes provincial authorities to run governmental activities at the local level.
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) outlines the proposal in its request for bidders on a four-year, $180 million contract to work with Iraq’s prime minister and parliament in setting up civil servant laws and regulations, and also creating local institutions to deliver services to the population.
Meant to assist civil servants in more than 26 Iraqi ministries and 10 ministries of state, the “Iraq National and Provincial Administrative Reform Project” is described by USAID as the “rightsizing of Iraq’s federal structure.” The agency adds that it “is a monumental undertaking.”
“In the past, lack of GOI [government of Iraq] political commitment to carry through on reforms has jeopardized efforts to achieve targeted reforms,” USAID notes.
Potential contractors are advised that they need to be aware of changes in Baghdad’s leadership and must build “a broad and active Iraqi constituency” that would help hold the government accountable for reforms.
The current system has several obstacles, USAID has said. They include “obsolete and confusing” law and a large “number of employees requiring skill development.”