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Implementation Completion Report (ICR) Review - National Roads Project

1. Project Data:   
ES Date Posted:
Project Name:
National Roads Project
Project Costs(US $M)
 67.8  73.17
Loan/Credit (US $M)
 42.0  40.96
Sector, Major Sect.:
Central government administration, Roads & highways,
Law and justice and public administration; Transportation
Cofinancing (US $M)
 0.0  6.6
L/C Number:
Board Approval (FY)
Partners involved
Not Available 
Closing Date
06/30/2003 09/30/2004
Prepared by: Reviewed by: Group Manager: Group:  
Kavita Mathur
Roy Gilbert Alain A. Barbu OEDSG

2. Project Objectives and Components:

a. Objectives
The objectives of the project were to:

(a) implement a pilot road rehabilitation program in support of an overall Road Rehabilitation Program;
(b) strengthen institutional capacity for maintenance and development of the national road network; and
(c) reduce reliance on the Government's budget by requiring users to pay for the provision of roads.

b. Components
The Project included three components:
A. Road Rehabilitation Works (planned US$61.5 million, actual US$58.09 million): A three-year pilot program to rehabilitate about 400 km of selected international, primary and secondary roads distributed among the four Regional Directorates of Roads.
B. Technical Assistance (planned US$4.8 million, actual US$ 14.15 million): (i) support Program Implementation Unit (PIU) in preparing guidelines for and reviewing feasibility/environmental studies, undertaking procurement actions and monitoring outputs, (ii) carry out a Road User Charges Study, (iii) assist in the preparation of laws and regulations to implement the Statement of Road Sector Policy, and (iv) strengthen the capacity of the Directorate of Roads (DOR) to develop and implement the Road Rehabilitation Program.
C. Equipment (planned US$1.5 million, actual US$ 0.93 million): Procurement of laboratory, traffic counting and axle-load control equipment (weighing scales), as well as vehicles, computers and office equipment.

c. Comments on Project Cost, Financing and Dates
About US$ 1.04 million of the loan was cancelled. The loan was extended twice and closed after a 15 month delay (the ICR did not provide reasons for loan extension). The actual costs to support the PIU and build the DOR's capacity were three times the amounts estimated at appraisal. This was due to the inclusion of design and supervision costs as support to the PIU, and the need to hire
more staff for a longer period than originally anticipated to build DOR's capacity.

3. Achievement of Relevant Objectives:

The objective of implementing a pilot road rehabilitation program in support of an overall Road Rehabilitation Program was partially achieved. About 93% of the revised rehabilitation works target (275 km) and 64% of the original target (400 km) were met. the percentage of the National Roads Project network in good condition increased from 20% at appraisal to 32% at closing.
The objective to strengthen institutional capacity for maintenance and development of the national road network was achieved. Technical guidelines for implementing road programs were developed. A more transparent system of procurement was introduced. The on-request procurement process was replaced with a system of fully specified and appropriately packaged road works based on increased competition and more rigorous quality control. A contract management system was developed to facilitate this process. A Document Management System was introduced to facilitate transparency and the storage and retrieval of important documents and records, including the approval process of contracts from the bid stage through completion.

The objective of reducing reliance on the Government's budget by requiring users to pay for the provision of roads was not achieved. The Road User Charges Study (RUCS) was carried out. The Study provided an adequate assessment of maintenance costs and a detailed profile of traffic by vehicle category. The initiative to establish a Road Fund with dedicated revenues generated from users was not successful. This was largely because of political resistance and the fear that establishing such a fund for road works would create a precedence for other ministries to ask for similar funds.

4. Significant Outcomes/Impacts:

DOR capacity to assess environmental and social aspects of the roads project was improved.
  • A GIS-based (Geographical Information System) road management system was developed. It permits updates and revisions to existing road maintenance strategies,enables the production of multi-year rehabilitation programs, and develops prioritized lists of road works.
  • New specifications for an improved asphalt mix were developed and adopted by DOR.

5. Significant Shortcomings (include non-compliance with safeguard features):

Even though the capacity at the central road department level to administer and manage the road network was enhanced, the capacity at district level to manage district roads did not improve.
  • The Government was not proactive in building consensus for the reforms, and its attempt to impose user charges to finance road maintenance and establishment of a Road Fund.
  • The design standards for road works were inappropriate and difficult to apply as they were not reflective of the local conditions.
  • The PIU (Project Implementation Unit) performance was weak and ineffective for a prolonged period of two years causing substantial delays and cost overruns in implementation of the road component.
  • The reforms sought under the project were too ambitious and the Bank failed to recognize the need to formally restructure the project at mid-term to achieve project objectives.
  • 6. Ratings:ICROED ReviewReason for Disagreement/Comments
    SatisfactoryModerately Satisfactory[The ICR's current 4-point scale does not allow for a "Moderately Satisfactory" rating]. Of the three objectives, the first was partially achieved, second was achieved and third was not achieved (see sections 3 and 5).
    Institutional Dev.:
    LikelyUnlikelyThe project did not develop a stable source of funding for road maintenance.
    Bank Performance:
    Borrower Perf.:
    UnsatisfactoryUnsatisfactoryThe Borrower Performance was highly satisfactory during preparation but during implementation, it declined to unsatisfactory. The extended periods of deficient performance delayed the resolution of difficulties at project sites and increased the cost of works.
    Quality of ICR:

    7. Lessons of Broad Applicablity:

    Operations developed in post-conflict situations should be open to corrections amid emerging realities on the ground. Such projects should be reassessed and adjusted at their mid-terms to reconfirm the validity of objectives and components.
    • Bank funding for ambitious and far-reaching reforms is most effective when undertaken to support and deepen reforms that are Government-initiated (commitment is secured), and responsibility for implementing stated reforms is at the highest ministerial level (ownership is established).
    • Diagnostic mechanisms and tools to strengthen a road administration’s capacity to evaluate road programs should be developed in the early stages of project implementation for their potential demonstration effect.

    8. Audit Recommended?  Yes

              Why?  To verify sustainability rating and position of cost recovery through the Road Fund or other mechanism.

    9. Comments on Quality of ICR:

    The quality of ICR is satisfactory. It covers all the relevant issues relating to the implementation experience and the outcome of the project. However, there are few shortcomings: (i) the ICR does not mention the cofinanciers, despite reporting US$ 6.6 million actual cofinancing in Annex 2; and (ii) the ICR does not discuss the reasons for the weak and ineffective performance of the PIU during implementation..

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