USAID Lacks Data To Inform Decisions About Construction Under Cooperative Agreements and Grants

Audit Report
Report Number
9-000-19-003-P

USAID overseas missions use construction activities under cooperative agreements and
grants—activities that according to USAID amounted to $1.4 billion between 2011 and 2013—
not as ends in themselves but as a tool to advance country-specific goals. Consequently, mission officials do not track data on individual construction activities under cooperative agreements and grants. By not systematically collecting data on the type of construction, where it took place, the amount spent, the source of engineering design, or performance, Agency decision makers miss opportunities to learn what works best and use that information to effectively deploy technical expertise, including staff engineers. Further, the Agency cannot adequately address risks. The Agency agreed to draw on current systems to make comprehensive construction data readily available to mission and bureau decision makers and is proactively implementing broader actions to further improve construction data and oversight.

Recommendations

Recommendation 1

Management decision reached upon report issuance: The agency agreed with our one recommendation and is proactively  implementing broader activities to further improve construction data and oversight. USAID also provided technical comments, which we incorporated where appropriate. USAID noted that while our audit's scope was limited to grants and cooperative agreements, the findings apply to USAID's broader portfolio. The Agency therefore decided to implement corrective actions that go beyond our recommendations, USAID will implement activities to improve compliance with data collection and construction oversight requirements for both assistance and acquisition awards. Activities include expanding training, including the Office of Energy and Infrastructure on the contract review board, and updating policies and procedures. We acknowledge the management decision and consider the recommendation resolved but open pending completion of planned activities, which USAID anticipates by November 30, 2019.

Questioned Cost:
$0