REQUEST FOR APPLICATIONS (RFA)

MANAGEMENT TRAINING FOR PUBLIC OFFICERS WORKING IN GOVERNMENTAL INSTITUTIONS IN THE REPUBLIC OF SERBIA

Issuance Date: NOVEMBER 21, 2012
Deadline for Receipt of Questions: DECEMBER 10, 2012 by 5 p.m. CET
Closing Date/Time for Submission of Applications: DECEMBER 20, 2012 by 3 p.m. CET

SUBJECT:Request for Applications (RFA) Number: RFA-2012-07

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, Serbian non-profit, for-profit, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) for a grant to organize and implement a project for management training for public officers working in governmental institutions in the Republic of Serbia.

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 up to 30,000 USD (thirty thousand US dollars) in total funding to be allocated over a period of 4 (four) months.

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 December 10, 2012, by is 17:00 hours Local Belgrade Time. No questions will be accepted after this date.

Applicants should submit applications in writing to the BEP Grants Manager, electronically, via email at grants@bep.rs. The Closing Date for submission of applications is DECEMBER 20, 2012, and the Closing Time for Submission of Applications is 15:00 hours Local Belgrade Time. Late applications will not be considered.

Section 1 – Funding Opportunity Description

A. 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 three 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 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.

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 grant to organize and implement management training for public officers working in national governmental institutions in the Republic of Serbia. The goal of the grant is to build capacity of USAID BEP counterparts within the Government of Serbia (GoS), so that they can better accomplish reforms and successfully implement new legislation. Specific objectives are to improve management capacity of BEP counterparts and their communication with various stakeholders. It is also important to obtain high-level commitment from GoS partners – ministers and state secretaries – who need to support this initiative, and communicate that this support to staff ideally integrates the management process into daily operations.

 

B. Grant activity Description

The USAID Business Enabling Project (BEP) intends to award a standard grant to a qualified organization to identify specific needs of BEP counterparts within the Government of Serbia (GoS), and accordingly develop an action and training plan for improvements in management practice to better implement legislation and accomplish reforms.

Deficiencies of the public administration system in Serbia, identified so far by government officials and staff, various international and bilateral donors, and the business sector in Serbia, include, but are not limited to: lengthy and non-efficient administrative procedures, rigid hierarchical structure, lack of motivation, initiative and pro-active approach of public servants and administrators, lack of broader vision and understanding of EU integration processes.

The following GoS institutions and regulatory bodies are BEP counterparts: In the Ministry of Finance and Economy: Public Debt Administration; Macro-Fiscal Department; Budget Department; Department for State Aid Control; Securities and Financial Market Department; Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Unit; and Tax Administration. In the Ministry of Construction and Urban Planning the counterpart is the Department of Construction, while in the Ministry of Labor, Employment and Social Policy, BEP’s counterpart is the Department for Labor and Employment. In the Ministry of Foreign and Domestic Trade and Telecommunications, BEP’s counterparts are Trade Inspectorate and Commodity Exchange Sector. In the Ministry of Justice and Public Administration, BEP cooperates with the Enforcement Unit. In the General Secretariat of the GoS, focus should be on the Coordination Unit for Policy Reform. Finally, BEP’s counterpart is also the Office for Regulatory Reform and Regulatory Impact Assessment of the GoS, and the Land Registry Directorate - Cadaster.

It is expected that the grantee will be able to accomplish the following tasks:

  • Needs assessment of sectors/ departments of BEP counterparts;
  • Negotiation with BEP counterparts on training needs of particular profile of officers/staff members and recruitment of training participants;
  • Design of curriculum that would include training in skills such as: project management, strategic management, change management, management of the process of implementation of legislation, communication with stakeholders, etc.;
  • Provision of trainings and consulting assistance that builds on provided trainings;
  • Organization of an event for senior GoS officials in order to ensure high-level commitment to support this initiative;
  • Adequate monitoring and evaluation of the project.

The training program should be specifically designed for mid-level managers from the above mentioned GoS institutions and regulatory bodies. Applicants should propose adequate, innovative and inter-active methodology for at least 10 training days to be organized in Serbia.

The training should provide the BEP counterparts with tools and knowledge they will continue to apply. Applicants should demonstrate how their methodology and training will lead to sustainable management improvement and greater efficiency in the BEP counterparts.

Section 2 – Award Information

Subject to the availability of funds, the Project intends to provide up to 30,000 USD (thirty thousand US dollars) in total funding to be allocated over a period of 4 (four) months. The anticipated period of performance of the grant is expected to start from January 2013. The Project anticipates awarding one Standard Grant under this RFA. Under a Standard Grant, payments will be made by reimbursement of advances, payable upon completion of task/milestones, which will be defined in detail during grant agreement negotiations, and submission of detailed financial report.

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 Serbian 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 the BEP Grants Manager, electronically, via email at grants@bep.rs. The Closing Date for submission of applications is DECEMBER 20, 2012, and the Closing Time for Submission of Applications is 15:00 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. In the technical proposal, applicants should describe in detail their methodology, staffing, relevant qualifications and organizational experience, and demonstrate how their approach will obtain the desired results, i.e. improve management capacity of selected BEP partners within the Government of Serbia, so that reforms can be properly implemented.

The cost proposal shall be submitted as a separate file from the technical proposal. Applicants are advised to fill in the budget form as detailed as possible. Lump sums will not be accepted. In addition, applicants are required to provide a brief narrative clarification of budget items demonstrating the necessity of the costs and how they relate to the proposed activities in the second sheet of the Budget form. Applicants are allowed to add new lines and modify the budget lines (not Budget Headings) according to the needs of the proposal’s activities. 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 Effectiveness    
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 project 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 Effectiveness (20 points): What resources are provided for the proposed costs? 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

 

 

 

 

 







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