Financed by the Government of Switzerland and implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Municipal Environmental and Economic Governance (MEG) Project is a 12-year intervention in the domain of local governance in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Project’s overall goal is defined as follows: Local governments, assigned with appropriate competences and finances, have improved their democratic governance, apply sound public policy and performance management systems, and provide public services in an inclusive, effective and efficient manner, particularly those related to economic and environmental sectors. The expected concrete improvements the Project will contribute to are clustered in three outcomes, as follows:
Outcome 1: Supported local governments apply effective development management systems characterized by stronger oversight of the legislative and greater accountability towards the citizens. Outcome 2: Citizens and businesses in target localities benefit from good quality services provided by LGs in the economic and environmental sectors. Outcome 3: Improved regulatory framework at higher and local government levels and pro-active. The Project’s territorial focus is on the North-West part of the country (including Una-Sana Canton and Prijedor region) and the North-East region (the wider Doboj-Tuzla area), covering 18 partner local governments: Bihac, Bosanska Krupa, Cazin, Doboj, Gracanica, Gradacac, Gradiška, Kalesija, Kostajnica, Kozarska Dubica, Prijedor, Prnjavor, Sanski Most, Tešanj, Teslic, Tuzla, Velika Kladuša and Žepce.
The Project is implemented in partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Ministry of Development, Entrepreneurship and Crafts of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBiH), the FBiH Ministry of Agriculture, Water Management and Forestry, the Ministry for Administration and Local Self-Government of Republika Srpska (RS), the RS Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management and both entity Associations of Municipalities and Cities (AMCs).
The purpose of the consultancy is to share international best experiences in the area of managing water utilities during the MEG Project Conference. In this regard, an International Expert in Water Utilities Management (hereinafter – the Consultant) will be engaged.
The main objective of this consultancy is to prepare and deliver three presentations related to the issues, adequate solutions and best practices in water utilities’ asset management, staff optimization and tariff setting procedures. The presentations will be given as part of a 2-day MEG Project Conference, tentatively scheduled for the second half of September or first half of October 2019, in Sarajevo.
Duties and Responsibilities
During the three years of MEG project implementation, it was noticed that the water utilities in BiH on average have low performance in the following areas:
- Assets management, underlining regular maintenance and replacements needed for the network infrastructure – one of the main issues is that the assets are not recorded in fixed assets books which prevents depreciation calculation and its inclusion into the water tariff structure, resulting with lack of funds for investment maintenance.
- Human resources management – characterized with high political pressure for unnecessary employments in all public institutions, including public water utilities. Too often additional burden in employment is not needed within the organizational structure and does not match actual needs for a water utility to function efficiently. Result is overemployment, sometimes quite heavy, but still lacking key expertise such as NRW management, zone mapping, etc.
- Tariff setting process – conveniently highly politically driven and without real intention to cover all related water service provision, resulting with low tariffs kept and insufficient level of income to enable financial sustainability of water services provision.
- In order to raise awareness of the problem as well as encourage broader discussion on the subject with aim of stimulating change of the current situation, this consultancy will provide expert support to ensure that the issue has been correctly presented to relevant stakeholders and that the best messages on needed reforms in BiH has been transferred, in order to potentially replicate international best practices in the areas of assets management and staff optimization in water utilities, and tariff setting procedures, among others. To that end the consultant will perform the following tasks:
Task 1 – Preparing for and delivering presentations during the MEG Conference
In agreement with the Project and based on the best experiences from Switzerland and eventually other countries that are comparable to BiH’s complex administrative structure and/or similar transitional experience from planned to market economy, the Consultant will prepare and deliver the following three (3) topics for the MEG project Conference presentation:
- Ownership of communal infrastructure and asset management, its registration in fixed assets books, i.e. – which concrete records/books should be maintained if the owner is local government (LG) or their water utility company (WUC); accuracy of asset inventory books; options for registration of existing infrastructure assets that are in the use and steps to follow to register such communal infrastructure assets; calculation of full depreciation costs and their inclusion into the tariff; expenditure of funds collected on the basis of calculated real and full depreciation (accounting procedures, separation of costs and revenues referring to the investment maintenance and similar); roles and responsibilities of key actors (LGs and WUCs).
- Efficiency and service quality improvements of WUCs organizational structure and number of employees in WUCs (water supply and wastewater management companies) – dealing with the overstaffing; employment standards; methods and procedures for new employment (eliminating potential political interference); use of IT tools for optimizing work labor; economy of scale and options for cooperation of water utilities and/or regionalization; effective outsd will be ourcing and public-private partnerships.
- Procedure for determining tariffs for water supply services, waste water treatment management and treatment services – key actors and their responsibilities in water tariff setting procedures; eligibility of costs that are covered by tariffs (i.e. are capital investment costs fully covered by the tariff or can they partly be covered by LG budget?); what is the financial flow of the investment maintenance costs recovery and other financial inflows, taxes, consents; volumetric pricing and fixed O&M costs (fixed part vs. variable volumetric part of tariffs); public and private service providers and the way of contracting providers by the local communities; customer service contracts and non-payment measures.
Each of the three presentations should be prepared using PowerPoint or Prezi, and draft presentations shall be delivered at least 10 days before the Day 1 of the MEG Conference, which will be commented and/or approved by the MEG project management.
Actual three oral presentations on the Day 2 of the MEG conference should last maximum 20 minutes each, followed with about 40-50 minutes of panel discussion that will besides the consultant include other representative participants from BiH water sector, and will be moderated by conference moderators with sufficient expertise in the discussed areas.
It is envisaged that this task will be delivered during the period of September – mid-October 2019 and the level of effort will not exceed total of 6 expert days, from which 2 days will be spent at the MEG project Conference event in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Required Skills and Experience
University degree in engineering or business and administration.
- At least 15 years of relevant experience in the field of water utilities management;
- Proven experience in capacity building and technical assistance projects in the water supply and wastewater sector, with a particular focus on water utilities’ management;
- Experience in provision of technical assistance to public institutions in the area of water utilities management;
- Proven training and group facilitation skills;
- Excellent communication skills.
Excellent writing and oral communication skills in in the official languages in English.
Application closing date: 22 July 2019