REQUEST FOR APPLICATIONS (RFA)

ASSESSMENT OF CONSTRAINTS TO CONSTRUCTION PERMITS IN SERBIA

Issuance Date: September 20, 2011
Deadline for Receipt of Questions: October 5, 2011 by 5 p.m. CET
Closing Date/Time for Submission of Applications: October 20, 2011 by 5 p.m. CET

SUBJECT:   Request for Applications (RFA) Number: RFA-2011-04

The USAID Business Enabling Project in Serbia (Project), a United States Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded contract implemented by Cardno Emerging Markets USA, Ltd., is seeking applications from qualified, legally registered US, Serbian, or a third country non-profit, for-profit, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) for a grant to assess constraints to construction permits in Serbia, and participate in stakeholders dialogue aimed to develop priorities and an action plan for  improvements in legislation and its implementation.
The Successful Applicant will be responsible for ensuring achievement of specified grant objectives.
This RFA consists of the following sections:

  • Section 1 – Funding Opportunity Description
  • Section 2 – Award Information
  • Section 3 – Eligibility Information
  • Section 4 – Application and Submission Information
  • Section 5 – Application Review Information
  • Section 6 – Award and Administration Information
  • Section 7 – Annexes

Pursuant to 22 CFR 226.81, it is USAID policy not to award profit under assistance instruments. However, all reasonable, allocable and allowable expenses, both direct and indirect, which are related to the grant activity and are in accordance with applicable cost standards (22 CFR 226, OMB Circular A-122 for non-profit organizations, the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Part 31 for for-profit organizations, and OMB Circular A-21 for educational institutions), may be paid under the Award.

Subject to the availability of funds, the Project intends to provide between 1,400,000 and 1,750,000 RSD (Serbian dinars) in total funding to be allocated over a three month period.

The Project reserves the right to fund any or none of the applications submitted. Issuance of this RFA does not constitute an award commitment on the part of the Project, nor does it commit the Project to pay for costs incurred in the preparation and submission of an application. Further, the Project reserves the right to reject any or all applications received if such action is considered to be in the best interest of the US Government. Applications are submitted at the risk of the Applicant; should circumstances prevent making an award, all preparation and submission costs are at the Applicant’s expense.
Applicants should submit any questions concerning this RFA in writing, electronically, via email to grants@bep.rs. The deadline for receipt of requests for clarifications/explanations is October 5, 2011, by is 17:00 hours Local Belgrade Time. No questions will be accepted after this date.
Applicants should submit applications in writing to: Zorana Gajic, electronically, via email at grants@bep.rs. The Closing Date for submission of applications is October 20, 2011, and the Closing Time for Submission of Applications is 17:00 hours Local Belgrade Time. Late applications will not be considered.


Section 1 – Funding Opportunity Description

Background

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has awarded a contract to Cardno Emerging Markets USA, Ltd. (formerly Emerging Markets Group, Ltd.) for the USAID Business Enabling Project in Serbia. The purpose of the Business Enabling Project is to help the Government of Serbia (GoS) improve the competitiveness of the Serbian economy and its private sector businesses. The overall objective is to assist GoS policy makers, business representatives, experts, and others to improve the business enabling environment and macroeconomic framework. The activity provides technical assistance and training to improve the business enabling environment, support macroeconomic stability, further develop financial markets, and improve and increase business and financial management capacities within government and business. The Business Enabling Project is made up of four components:

  1. Component 1 – Business Regulation and Economic Governance: Assist Serbia to improve its business regulation and economic governance, particularly in those areas where it performs poorly in international competitiveness and business environment rankings, so that it can better stimulate private sector growth and development and attract more foreign and domestic investment resources.
  2. Component 2 – Macroeconomic Policy and Public Financial Management: Assist the GoS and the National Bank of Serbia to improve macroeconomic policy, public financial management, and financial stability. Support efforts to improve GoS capacity to develop and implement fiscal policy.
  3. Component 3 – Financial Market Development: Support means to increase access to finance, including development of non bank financial institutions. Also, to support the development of Serbia’s capital markets through improvements in market governance, accounting and disclosure standards. Support Serbia in its efforts to reform accounting and audit standards and practices and assist it in implementing those reforms.
  4. Component 4 – Business-Education Partnerships: Support improvements in business management education in Serbia, through support to public-private partnerships with private businesses and universities in Serbia and the US, to improve and broaden curricula in business management faculties, support exchanges between Serbian and US university faculties and students, and foster closer relationships between business management facilties and businesses in Serbia.

To accomplish reforms in each of these areas the Project will help the Government of Serbia work closely with the private sector and outside experts to make reforms that improve business competitiveness. To accomplish this, the Project obtains research and analysis on reform areas to guide dialogue and reform strategies. The purpose of this RFA is to solicit applications to support the Project by providing a comprehensive and thorough assessment of constraints to obtaining construction permits. 


Grant activity Description

Since the global financial and economic crisis began, the construction industry and investments in Serbia have been facing hardships. Large private projects have been stopped, and some of them have only slowly moved forward by fulfilling the requirements for issuance of construction permit or obtaining the same. Currently only major infrastructure projects (mainly financially supported by international development institutions and organizations, as well as by the domestic public bodies) are being conducted. The new Law on Planning and Construction and ancillary by-laws, which affected issuance of the new construction permits, has not appeared to have improved the situation related to issuance of permits. Problems in obtaining construction permits are the most obvious in Belgrade, which is the market with the most investing potential. Consequently, domestic construction companies are facing major problems. In addition to slow procedures for issuing of the construction permits and difficulties in dealing with bureaucracy, developers must contend with expensive residential land, lack of urban plans, as well as a lack of clarity in pricing conversion of land from usage to ownership rights. These circumstances lead to lower level of economic activities and decrease of public revenues.

In practice, numerous and various problems arise in connection with all necessary documentation, steps and other elements in order to obtain construction permits: registration of construction land and related legal rights, conversion of land usage rights to land ownership rights, formation of building parcels, conversion from agricultural to building land, obtaining of technical requirements for the design of access to infrastructure, removing of the existing buildings on the land and gaining location permits.

These problems manifest themselves in the World Bank Doing Business indicators.  Serbia ranks 176th out of 183 countries that are on “Doing Business 2011” list (web page: http://www.doingbusiness.org/data/exploreeconomies/serbia/#dealing-with-licenses).
 
This rank is two positions lower than in “Doing Business 2010” (174th place).  Table 1 contains indicators and their quantification in Serbia, and its comparison to Eastern Europe and Central Asia region and OECD.

Table 1

Indicator

Serbia

Eastern Europe and Central Asia

OECD

Procedures (number)

20

22.2

15.8

Time (days)

279

250.1

166.3

Cost (% of income per capita)

1,821.4

645.5

62.1

Source: Doing Business 2011

The Business Enabling Project will work in some areas of the construction permitting process in which the project can have impact within project resource limitations. The Law on Planning and Construction underwent its second major reform since 2009. To help the Government of Serbia properly implement the law and make further improvements to laws, procedures and institutions, the Project will provide a grant for a construction permitting study, expert panels and decision makers/stakeholders roundtables to define action plans for improvement in the system.  
The Business Enabling Project intends to award a grant to a qualified organization to identify constraints to the construction process and a priority list and action plan for improvements in legislation and practice in regard to construction permitting process.  It is expected that the grantee will be able to accomplish the following tasks:


I Conduct research on bottlenecks in construction permitting

This should include:

  1. Review and verify or correct World Bank Doing Business indicators for Dealing with Construction Permits in Serbia and the five municipalities reviewed in Doing Business in Southeast Europe 2011.
  2. Undertake research on the current situation in regard to urban and regulatory plans and present results, including territorial coverage and its quality, plans for development of new plans, and what reforms and other changes are expected in six months and in two years.
  3. Undertake research in regard to current state of registries maintained by the Republic Geodetic Authority relevant for construction permitting, its quality (particularly, its reliability), territorial differences in the nature of data maintained, plans for relevant improvements in the system of cadastre data, and other changes that are expected in forthcoming period.
  4. Review and summarize recent studies and assessments of property registration, conversion of land usage rights, restitution of immovable property, issuance of building permits, obtaining utilities services, and inspections of construction projects in Serbia.
  5. Analyze how permitting procedures and other elements of the regulatory framework influence construction projects’ financing mechanisms and particularly provision of bank loans for financing construction projects, i.e. do the procedures and framework cause lenders to limit construction lending and how synchronized are legal requirements for specific permits (locational, construction and usage) with banks’ paperwork requirements for approving loans.


II Conduct an analysis of processes and procedures involved in obtaining all permits, rights, and services necessary to engage in a construction project in Serbia

  • Review laws and meet with Government staff and developers to identify processes and procedures;
  • Develop diagrams of the processes and procedures;
  • Identify steps, processes and procedures that cause excessive cost in terms of time and money and describe them in detail;
  • Analyze roles and relationship between local and State authorities in the construction permitting processes;
  • Identify current and potential use of information technology in the construction permit processes;
  • Identify potential improvements to the steps, processes and procedures.


III Investigate the role of the public enterprises and other holders of public authorities in regard to the
technical requirements necessary for obtaining construction permits

Note: The difference in efficiency of central and local public enterprises, public bodies and other holders of public authorities in construction permitting process should be analyzed and explained.

Conduct a comparative analysis on the three best performers on Dealing with Construction Permits in the World Bank Doing Business Report among CEE countries (the three ranked highest on this indicator). This analysis should focus on the processes involving public enterprises, fire department and similar public bodies and compare the practices with those in Serbia.


IV Investigate the role of inspections in construction permits issuance procedure

  • Identify the inspections that apply to construction permit issuance
  • Summarize the timing, time spent by the inspector and developer, and cost of each inspection that applies to construction permit issuance
  • Identify potential improvements to the inspections

Note: The role of inspections up to the moment of the issuance of occupancy permit should be analyzed and explained.


V Research the availability and transparency of information on all necessary documentation, steps and other elements (i.e. dates and deadlines) in relation with obtaining construction permits

The analysis should focus on how conducive the legal framework (law, bylaws) and procedures employed by government bodies and public enterprises is for corruption in the construction permitting.  The analysis should also assess the pervasiveness of corruption in the construction sector based on interviews with relevant stakeholders and available information.


VI Identify which problems need to be solved on Republic or local government levels

The analysis should identify which problems that firms are having at the local level which should be solved on Republic level by the means of state intervention in legislation and practice and which problems could be solved at the local government level.


VII Investigate the effects of the new Law on Construction and Spatial Planning, including its amendments (2011), on the construction permitting process

This aspect of the analysis should identify what impact the Law and amendments have had on procedures to obtain construction permits and on the actions of government and public enterprises relating to construction permitting.  Has the Law and amendments sped up or slowed any processes or procedures, increased or decreased transparency, eliminated or added any unnecessary procedures?  What impact has it had on actual construction projects (for this aspect anecdotal information is sufficient, though a more scientific analysis is encouraged)?


VIII Draft Report on Barriers to Construction in Serbia and Recommendations for Reforms that includes:

  • Findings from Previous Studies on urban and regulatory plans, zoning, registries maintained by the Republic Geodetic Authority relevant for construction permitting, the cadastre, the property registration process, conversion of land usage rights, restitution of immovable property, access to finance, issuance of building permits, obtaining utilities services, and inspections of construction projects in Serbia.
  • Findings and Conclusions from analysis of processes and procedures involved in obtaining permits rights and services necessary to engage in a construction project in Serbia.
  • Findings and Conclusions from investigation of the role of public enterprises and other holders of public authorities in regard to the technical requirements necessary for obtaining construction permits.
  • Findings and Conclusions from investigation of the role of inspections in construction permit issuance procedures.
  • Findings and Conclusions from research on the availability and transparency of information on all necessary documentation, steps and other elements in relation to obtaining construction permits.
  • Findings and Conclusions regarding problems at the local level which should be solved on the Republic level.
  • Recommendations for Priority Reforms in urban and spatial plans, zoning, registries, the cadastre, property registration, conversion of usage rights, restitution, building permits, utilities, and inspections, including legislation, procedures, administrative capacity.
  • Identify and incorporate best practices from CEE countries in reducing barriers to construction.

VIII Present Report on Barriers to Construction in Serbia and Recommendations for Reforms to government, media and business representatives
Present the draft report to relevant Government of Serbia and local government institutions and obtain feedback.  Present the final report to government, media and business representatives.  Presentations shall be organized and facilitated by the BEP project, but the grantee will make the presentations and respond to comments and questions.


IX Participate in the public-private dialogue through different forms of meetings and outreach activities

Present preliminary findings as developed through the activities listed above and facilitate dialogue with Government officials and staff and contractors and business representatives. Dialogue shall be organized and facilitated by the BEP project, but the grantee will make presentations and respond to comments and questions.

Research must include available national level data and in addition to that data gathered by grantee from at least 6 local self-government units (municipalities and cities):

  • City of Belgrade;
  • One out of remaining three the largest cities in Serbia – Novi Sad, Niš and Kragujevac;
  • One out of the remaining cities in Serbia;
  • Three municipalities.

Selection of the local self-government units has to be done in a way to include local governments from the various regions in the sample.
Research will include discussions with the representatives of the investors and business community.


Section 2 – Award Information

Subject to the availability of funds, the Project intends to provide between 1,400,000 and 1,750,000 RSD (Serbian dinars) in total funding to be allocated over a three month period. The anticipated period of performance of the grant is expected to start from November 2011. The Project anticipates awarding one Fixed Obligation Grant under this RFA. Under a Fixed-Obligation Grant, all payments will be a fixed-sum payable upon completion of deliverables, which will be defined in detail during grant agreement negotiations.


Section 3 – Eligibility Information

Eligible organizations shall be able to comply with and achieve the proposed Program Description, Tasks, and Results and have a satisfactory performance record and record of integrity and business ethics.

Eligible organizations include legally registered US, Serbian, and third country non-for-profit, for-profit, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
Prior to the award of grant under this RFA, successful Applicants will be required to sign a Certification Regarding Terrorist Financing certifying that the Applicant’s organization does not provide and has never provided assistance to terrorists for terrorist activities. Successful Applicants may also be required to sign other Certifications as applicable to the award. The Certifications are attached as Annex 1 of this RFA.
Ineligible organizations include:

  • Public International Organizations;
  • Entities that have misused USAID funds in the past, organizations that advocate, promote or espouse anti-democratic policies or illegal activities;
  • Political parties or institutions;
  • Organizations that intend to use the grant for religious objectives;
  • Organizations that are on the list of parties excluded from federal procurement and non-procurement programs or the United Nations Security Sanctions Committee.


Section 4 – Application and Submission Information

Applicants should submit applications in writing to: Zorana Gajic electronically, via email at grants@bep.rs. The Closing Date for submission of applications is October 20, 2011, and the Closing Time for Submission of Applications is 17:00 hours Local Belgrade Time. Late applications will not be considered.

All applications in response to this RFA shall consist of a technical proposal and a budget proposal. The technical proposal must not be longer than 15 pages in length. Pages submitted in excess of 15 pages will not be reviewed. The cost proposal shall be submitted as a separate file from the technical proposal. The required format for applications is included as Annex 2 - Full Application Form and Annex 2A – Budget Form.


Section 5 – Application Review Information

Applications will be evaluated in accordance with the criteria set forth below. The criteria have been tailored to the requirements of this RFA. Applications should note that these criteria serve to: (a) identify the significant matters which Applicants should address in their applications; and (b) set the standard against which all applications will be evaluated.

To the extent necessary, the Project may request clarification and supplemental materials from Applicants whose applications have a reasonable chance of being selected for Award. The entry into discussion is to be viewed as part of the evaluation process and shall not be deemed as indicative of a decision or commitment upon the part of the Project to make an award to the Applicants with whom discussions are being held.

Applications will be evaluated by the Grants Selection Committee on the basis of 100 possible points. The weighting of various sections will be as follows:

Category

Maximum Points (100 Total)

Understanding of Key Issues
Methodology and Activities
Outcomes / Expected Results
Staffing/Management Plan
Relevant Past Experience and Performance
Cost Realism
Total Possible Points

10
20
10
30
10
20
100

 

  • Understanding of the Key Issues (10 points): Does the applicant demonstrate a clear understanding of the problems/key issues that the proposed grant activity will address? Are the overall goal and objectives of the proposed grant activity clearly stated and achievable?
  • Methodology and Activities (20 points): Is the methodology to conduct the analysis clear? Is the proposed methodology suitable to obtain the desired results and objectives? Are the activities stated in detail?  Does the applicant propose specific activities that are logical, realistic, and relevant to the grant activity’s goal? Does the applicant demonstrate how the activities will obtain the desired results and objectives?
  • Outcomes / Expected Results (10 points): Are the expected outcomes and results stated in detail, including a detailed description of the contents of the deliverables?  Do the expected results of the proposed grant activities relate to the key issues and overall grant objective?
  • Staffing/Management Plan (30 points): Does the proposed staffing/management plan reflect the personnel/management needs of the grant activity? Does the applicant propose personnel with experience and skills necessary to successfully implement the proposed activities?
  • Relevant Past Experience and Performance (10 points): Does the organization have relevant past experience successfully implementing similar activities?
  • Cost Realism (20 points): Is the proposed budget realistic, well-though out, and in-line with the proposed activities? Are the proposed costs reasonable, allowable and allocable to the grant? Is the grantee contributing cost-share or providing in-kind support?

The selection of the Applicant for award will be made by the Project’s Grant Selection Committee. Prior to the award of any resultant grant agreement, the Project must obtain prior approval from USAID.


Section 6 – Award and Administration Information

Before the applications’ specified expiration date, successful applicant(s) will receive written notice from the Grants Manager informing the applicant(s) that the Project either intends to award a grant to the applicant without negotiation, or that the Project intends to engage the applicant(s) in further negotiations with respect to a potential grant award. Negotiations conducted after the receipt of an application do not constitute an obligation on the part of the Project to award a grant. Unsuccessful applicants will be notified in writing by the Grants Manager.

Any resultant award will be subject to the terms and conditions of the Prime Contract for the USAID Business Enabling Project (for US organizations: 22 CFR 226, OMB Circulars, and the Standard Provisions for U.S. Non-governmental Recipients; for non-US organizations: Standard Provisions for Non-U.S. Non-governmental Recipients).


Section 7: Annexes

Annex 1: Certifications
Annex 2: Full Grant Application Form and Budget Form

 

 

 

 







News

14.08.2017 - New Real Estate Registration Bill Introduces Efficient Registration and Higher Level of Legal Security in Serbia

11.08.2017 - For Stronger Ethics and Integrity in Inspection Oversight

>>> News archive <<<
 
 



Business Regulation
and Economic Governance
     

Grants
 

Monitoring & Evaluation