Enhanced Competitiveness of Tajik Agribusiness Programme (ECTAP) - Independent Verification Consultant

Location:

Tajikistan

Business sector:

Financial institutions

Funding source:

ECTP - Enhanced Competitiveness of Tajik Agribusiness Programme (ECTAP)

Contract type:

Consultancy Services

Notice type:

Invitation for expressions of interest (CSU)

Issue date:

14 Dec 2016

Closing date:

09 Jan 2017   at  23:59   London

Access eSelection

Project Description: The European Union has established the Enhanced Competitiveness of Tajik Agribusiness Programme (“ECTAP” or the “Programme”) to enhance the development of Tajik agri-food value chains, the competitiveness of agri-food enterprises and the quality of marketing of their products.


The Programme consists of three Windows:

Window 1: EU grants for a risk-sharing facility with the EBRD, which will support at least EUR 20 million of EBRD financing to Tajik agribusiness SMEs.
Window 2: EU funding for investment grants to the beneficiaries of the Programme to be channelled through: (i) the EBRD’s lending programme with Tajik MFIs/banks for on-lending to beneficiaries where the EBRD ensures a mechanism for the EU funds to be passed to the eligible end borrowers.
Window 3: EU technical assistance grants to support agribusiness SMEs in implementing their capital investment projects through EBRD direct financing in Windows 1 and 2.


As part of the Programme, the European Union seeks to mobilise higher levels of financing to support capital investment in the Tajik agricultural and agribusiness sector by providing grants that will be blended with financing from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development ( “EBRD” or the “Bank”). The Programme has been conceived, to a large extent, as a follow-up of the Tajik Agricultural Finance Framework (“TAFF”) which was completed in February 2013.


It has been determined that equipment currently in place are either (i) obsolete machinery, or (ii) has low level of local product quality, productivity with limited standardisation and quality control.


In order to improve the commercial viability to invest in upgrading equipment that otherwise would not be financed, a grant mechanism in the form of incentive payments to sub-borrowers has been developed. Eligible sub-borrowers will receive a grant incentive payment as a percentage of the sub-loan amount provided by Partner Financial Institutions (PFIs) for the sole purpose of investing in the eligible agri-machinery and equipment - pre-identified and approved agriculture machinery and equipment (based on a List of Eligible Materials and Equipment or LEME) with the aim of supporting the upgrading currently obsolete agri fleet and equipment prevalent in the country. The Programme aims at strengthening specific agri sectors along efficient value-chains.


The the beneficiaries of the the Programme are intended to be micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) along the agribusiness value-added chains, including farmers and their associations, while local consulting service providers to the agriculture sector will also benefit indirectly.


Assignment Description: The Bank now wishes to engage a locally-based Independent Verification Consultant ("IVC" or “Independent Verification Consultant”) to assist the Bank in the implementation of Windows 1 and 2 in close cooperation with the EU Project Consultant and the EBRD Senior Grants Officer. The IVC will be expected to verify the technical implementation of the investments by the sub-borrowers before the incentive payment is released to the relevant SME.


The objectives of the IVC are to:


- ensure that the use of proceeds of each sub-loan has met the eligibility criteria and that funded investments have been completed substantially in line with defined procedures. The IVC shall verify eligibility of the sub-borrower to receive incentive payment by checking that the equipment /machinery has been purchased from the LEME (List of Eligible Machinery and Equipment), and is being used;
- ensure that incentive payments due to sub-borrowers, on completion of eligible investments, are submitted for release by the EBRD only when a sub-project is validated as compliant with the investment plans, and that no recommendation on release of incentive fees will be given where such validation was not possible.

The IVC is expected to conduct one or a combination of the following verification methods for each sub-project when it has been substantially completed:

- Desk-based verification

- Random on-site verification

- On-site verification.


Specifically, the IVC will udnertake the following tasks.


Window 1- Agribusiness - Direct Facility programme:


The IVC will check and confirm that each project that is eligible for payment of a Financial Incentive has successfully met all defined eligibility criteria and has been successfully completed in accordance with the original investment plan prepared by the PC.


The borrower is responsible for implementing the project and shall notify the PC when the project has been implemented or is complete. The borrower will advise the PC of the disbursed amount of the loan. On notification from the PC that a project has been completed, the IVC should conduct the verification. The verification should be completed and the relevant confirmation of compliance provided to the EBRD SGO no later than one month following notification of the IVC, unless otherwise requested by the Bank.


The IVC shall conduct an On-site verification of each project:

- Visit the site of each project when the project has been substantially completed (equipment from LEME list was purchased, commissioned and is being used).
- Validate, against the investment plan and a Completion Validation Review (“CVR”) checklist prepared by the Project Consultant to ensure that the project has been completed substantially on the basis of the investment plan and check-list.

The borrower shall provide to the IVC all supporting documents and invoices from installers/suppliers as well as proof of payment by the borrower.
The IVC will assess the successful implementation and completion of the projects and will review a copy of the completion certificate and/or other certificate provided by the borrower. Where commissioning tests have been performed, the IVC will also review a copy of the commissioning tests and provide to the EBRD an opinion whether the project has been completed substantially in line with the investment plan and the eligibility criteria.

Window 2 – FI- On-lending Facility to agri MSMEs:


The IVC will assess, verify and confirm that a sub-borrower eligible for receipt of the Financial Incentive, has successfully met all defined eligibility criteria and the sub-projects to be verified are in compliance with the sub-project criteria under FI-ECTAP. The eligibility criteria for the sub-borrower and the sub-project under the FI-ECTAP Facility are defined in the Policy Statement annexed to a loan agreement between EBRD and respective PFI.


The IVC is expected to conduct one or a combination of the following verification methods with respect to the sub-projects funded under the FI-ECTAP Facility:

1. Desk-based verification:

conducted on any MSE sub-project with a value of up to USD 20,000 equivalent;
conducted based on the supporting documentation (including, but not limited to, confirmation of the EBRD-FI ECTAP sub-loan fund disbursement, invoices from the suppliers and/or installers, proof of payment by the sub-borrower) submitted by the respective PFI via EBRD SGO.


2. Random on-site verification:

IVC shall conduct random on-site verifications of at least 50% sub-projects falling under the ‘Desk-based verification’ method.

3. On-site verification:
- conducted on any MSME sub-project with a value of equal to and/or above USD 20,000 equivalent;
- conducted based on the supporting documentation (including, but not limited to, confirmation of the EBRD-FI ECTAP sub-loan fund disbursement, invoices from the suppliers and/or installers, proof of payment by the sub-borrower) submitted by the respective PFI via EBRD SGO;
- validation included of each sub-project against the investment plan and a Completion Validation Review (“CVR”) checklist prepared by the EU Project Consultant to ensure that the sub-project has been completed substantially on the basis of the investment plan and check-list.

Status of Selection Process: Interested consultants (individual consultants or firms nominating an individual expert) are hereby invited to submit expressions of interest.


Assignment Start Date and Duration: The Assignment is expected to start in early 2017 and has an estimated overall duration of 32 months. Subject to the availability of funding, Project requirements and satisfactory performance of the Consultant the assignment duration may be extended.


Cost Estimate for the Assignment: EUR 288,510 (exclusive of VAT).

The Consultant must determine whether any VAT would be chargeable on the services and the basis for that determination, without taking into consideration the special status of the Bank as an IFI and state this to the Bank in their response to the Invitation for Expressions of Interest. To the extent that a Consultant incurs input VAT on goods and services purchased in connection with the provision of services (e.g. VAT on airline ticket) which is not otherwise recoverable by the consultant from the local tax authority, the gross cost to the consultant of such expenses shall be treated as a reimbursable expense.


Funding Source: The Assignment will be funded by the Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Tajikistan.


Eligibility: There are no consultant nationality eligibility restrictions.


Consultant Profile: Individual services are required. The Consultant shall be an individual expert (independent expert or an expert nominated by a firm) with previous professional experience in:


i) project work relevant to the assignment, including:

- validating sub-projects against set criteria;

- experience of working on MSME investments through commercial banks in transition economies (preferably with IFIs or similar institutions);

- ensuring compliance with relevant EU Directives and Regulations;

ii) project experience in comparable assignments in the Central Asia region.


Submission Requirements:


Interested consultants are hereby invited to submit expressions of interest. In order to determine the qualifications and competence of individuals seeking to be shortlisted (firms may propose services of individual experts), the information submitted should include the following:

- Cover letter (maximum 2 pages) summarising how he/she satisfies the requirements as defined above under Consultant Profile;

- CV which should be detailed and include full descriptions of roles responsibilities carried out;

- Completed Consultant Declaration Form and Contact Sheet, the template for which is available from the following web-link: http://www.ebrd.com/pages/workingwithus/procurement/notices/csu/contact_sheet.doc

The complete expression of interest (EoI)should be submitted, in English electronically through e-Selection, to reach the Bank not later than the closing date. The expression of interest shall be one file (pdf). The EBRD reserves the right to reject applications of Individuals submitting more than one file. Only if the permissible file size is exceeded (4MB), the Consultant may split the expression of interest into further files.


Bank Contact Person:

Elena Kolodiy

Principal Advisor

Technical Co-operation

European Bank for Reconstruction and Development

One Exchange Square

London EC2A 2JN

Tel: + 44 20 7338 6765

e-mail:kolodiyo@ebrd.com (submissions should be sent through eSelection and NOT to this email address)


Notes:

1. The selection will normally be made from responses to this notification only. Consultants will not be asked to submit a proposal. The highest-ranked Consultant will be selected from a shortlist and be invited to negotiate the contract, subject to availability of funding.

2. The evaluation criteria are:

i) previous project experience in validating projects against set criteria (20%);
ii) previous project experience in MSME investments through commercial banks in transition economies, with IFIs or similar institutions, experience working with EU Directives and Regulations (40%);
iii) Previous project experience in comparable assignments in the Central Asia region (40%).