Bosnia and Herzegovina - EU/EBRD SME Competitiveness Support Facility (SME-CSF): Project Consultant (PC)

Location:

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Business sector:

Financial institutions

Project number:

48464

Funding source:

EU Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA)

Contract type:

Consultancy Services

Notice type:

Invitation for expressions of interest (CSU)

Issue date:

16 Jul 2015

Closing date:

14 Aug 2015   at  23:59   London

Access eSelection

Project Description: Through the EU/EBRD SME Competitiveness Support Facility (SME-CSF, or the Facility) the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (the EBRD or the Bank) aims to increase the capability of SMEs in Bosnia and Herzegovina to access the European Union (EU) market, as well as their ability to face competition by supporting the implementation of EU standards, through the provision of financing, investment incentives and technical assistance.

While the prospect of EU membership presents many positive opportunities for the country, progress with the adoption of the acquis communitaire will involve significant regulatory changes, giving rise to a large investment burden for enterprises to comply with the new standards. The relevant acquis covers some 145 directives, related to product safety, health and safety at work, all kind of industries and environment.

A general problem for investments of this nature is a lack of awareness by SMEs of the applicable regulations and compliance standards, coupled with limitations of access to suitable medium/long term financing. In order to overcome the various barriers to such upgrade investments by SMEs, the EBRD is planning to provide credit lines to Partner Banks (PBs) in Bosnia and Herzegovina for on-lending to SMEs (the sub-borrowers) for eligible investments (the Project).

The EBRD is expected to provide financing of EUR 20 million to 3-4 local PBs. The maximum sub-project size under the Facility is EUR 1,000,000 but a lower average of approximately EUR 200,000-300,000 is anticipated. It is thus estimated that the total number of sub-loans to be financed would be in the range of 50-75. This is an indicative number and does not take into account any sub-projects appraised but not financed.

Assignment Description: The Project will be complemented by grant funding from the EU to provide project support in the form of Technical Assistance (TA) and Investment Incentives to sub-borrowers, payable after successful completion of the sub-projects.

The availability of EBRD funded SME finance should enable the SMEs to improve production capacities, enhance processes and quality of their products by introduction of EU standards in the field of environmental protection, product safety and quality and occupational health and safety.

The TA will aim to raise awareness on the SME Facility, perform investment needs assessments and facilitate preparation of projects for loan applications.
A separate Verification Consultant (VC) is expected to be engaged, through an additional procurement, to verify the technical implementation of the investments by the sub-borrowers before the incentive payment is released to the relevant SME.

The Bank now intends to engage a consulting company (the Consultant, Project Consultant or PC) to assist with the implementation and monitoring of the Project and the EU Grant for Investment Incentives (the Assignment).

The Consultant shall ensure that there is a pipeline of investment projects that meet the eligibility criteria and that the widest range of stakeholders is informed about the Facility and more generally with respect to raising awareness of implementation of EU standards in order to ensure a prompt uptake of the financing and the related benefits.

The selected Consultant is expected to provide a variety of services, including, but not limited to, the following:
• Draft an Implementation Manual for the Facility (including for PBs personnel involved in its implementation). The Implementation Manual will describe in detail the technical eligibility criteria, the sub-project life- cycle for different target segments of the Facility and the communication procedures and protocols between all parties involved. The exact procedure and information flow shall be defined by the PC in agreement with the EBRD and the partner PBs. The Implementation Manual will also include, in its annexes, the Completion Validation Review checklist, to be used by the VC, and a Quality Assurance Manual.
• Assist the prospective sub-borrowers in their applications (maintaining a telephone hotline, answering emails or other correspondence and using website to address FAQs).
• Design and agree with the EBRD and PBs procedures for dealing with appeals and complaints.
• Liaise with the PBs and with the EBRD as necessary and collaborate closely with PBs to monitor the progress and implementation of the Facility.
• Design and carry out relevant training/workshops for PBs staff as well as a questionnaire for lending officers participating in training/workshops and measure the use of the acquired knowhow one year after the workshop.
• Undertake the necessary research and data collection to accurately measure that all the targets agreed between the EU and EBRD, as per the Delegation Agreement, have been met, including an Ex-post baseline data study.
• Establish an efficient electronic tracking, monitoring and reporting system to ensure the use of standard forms and accurate data including ensuring compliance with the reporting requirements of the Delegation Agreement with the EU (e.g. number of participants in workshops, sub-loan portfolio by gender, specific groups based on minorities and other vulnerable groups, etc).
• Monitor the portfolio of Sub-projects and provide regular or ad-hoc reporting on the progress and implementation of the Facility.

Status of Selection Process: Interested firms or groups of firms are hereby invited to submit expressions of interest.

Assignment Start Date and Duration: The Assignment is expected to start in Q4 of 2015 and has an estimated overall duration of 24 months.

Cost Estimate for the Assignment: EUR 678,400.00 (exclusive of VAT). Subject to availability of funding, the performance of the selected Consultant and the specific needs of the Bank the Assignment may be extended beyond the current scope.
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: It is expected that the Assignment will be funded by the EU Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA). Please note selection and contracting will be subject to the availability of funding.

Eligibility: There are no eligibility restrictions.

Consultant Profile: Corporate services are required. The Consultant will be a firm or a group of firms preferably with previous project experience in:
1. implementing similar assignments, focussing particularly on SME investments through commercial banks in transition economies, preferably with IFIs (or similar), including tasks as described above;
2. implementing relevant EU Directives and Regulations in the areas of environmental protection, workers’ safety and product quality and safety, the acquis communitaire, as well as the transposition process in Bosna and Herzegovina;
3. in the financial sector of the Western Balkans countries.

The Consultant should be familiar with the Priority EU Directives in the field of environmental protection, workers’ safety and product quality and safety, as well as with the transposed laws in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the progress with the implementation of the acquis for Bosnia and Herzegovina. It should also be noted that SMEs operating in the industrial and industrial-related services sectors are expected to be the main category of beneficiaries.

The Consultant’s expert team is expected to include key experts as follows:

a) Team Leader /Project Manager and Quality Control
b) Local Coordinator

as well as a pool of additional non-key experts consisting of:
a) Engineers, Environment Specialist and Quality Assurance Expert
b) S/T Marketing Expert

Submission Requirements: In order to determine the capability and experience of Consultants seeking to be shortlisted for this Assignment, the information submitted should include the following:
1. Company/group of firms’ profile, organisation and staffing (max. 2-4 pages).
2. Details of previous project experience or similar assignments particularly undertaken in the previous five years, including information on contract value, contracting entity/client, project location/country, duration (mm/yy to mm/yy), expert months provided (if different from duration) , main activities, objectives.
3. CVs of key experts who could carry out the Assignment detailing qualifications, experience in similar assignments, particularly assignments undertaken in the previous five years, including information on contracting entity/client, project location/country, duration (mm/yy to mm/yy), expert months provided, assignment budget, main activities, objectives.
4. 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 above information should not exceed 20 pages excluding CVs and contact sheet.

The complete expression of interest (including CVs, Consultant Declaration and Contact Sheet) 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 firms 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.

In addition, 2 hard copies of the above information, in English, should be submitted to the Bank in an envelope marked "Expression of Interest for Project Consultant for Bosnia and Herzegovina - EU/EBRD SME Competitiveness Support Facility (SME-CSF)", to reach the Bank not later than the closing date, marked for the attention of the Bank’s Contact Person.:
Queries may be addressed to the Bank’s Contact Person.

Bank Contact Person:
Sophie Medert
Technical Co-operation
European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
One Exchange Square
London EC2A 2JN
Tel: + 44 20 7338 7371
E-mail: MedertS@ebrd.com (submissions should be sent through eSelection and NOT to this email address)

Notes:
1. Following this invitation for expressions of interest, a shortlist of qualified firms will be formally invited to submit proposals. Consultant selection and contracting will be subject to availability of funding.
2. The shortlist criteria are:
a. Firm's experience relevant to the assignment, focussing particularly on SME investments through commercial banks in transition economies, preferably with IFIs, as well experience with EU Directives and Regulations (40%);
b. Firm's experience in comparable assignments in Western Balkans region (40%);
c. CVs of key experts listed in the procurement notice (20%).
3. The firm being awarded the contract for the Project Consultant assignment will not be eligible for contract award for the Verification Consultant Assignment and vice versa, although interested firms are free to apply for both assignments.