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Implementation Completion Report (ICR) Review - Liberia Infrastructure Rehabilitation Project


  
1. Project Data:   
ICR Review Date Posted:
12/30/2013   
Country:
Liberia
PROJ ID:
P101456
Appraisal
Actual
Project Name:
Liberia Infrastructure Rehabilitation Project
Project Costs(US $M)
 US$8.5 million  US$8.5 million
L/C Number:
Loan/Credit (US $M)
 US$8.5 million  US$8.5 million
Sector Board:
Transport
Cofinancing (US $M)
   
Cofinanciers:
Board Approval Date
  11/13/2006
 
 
Closing Date
09/30/2010 09/30/2010
Sector(s):
Ports waterways and shipping (84%), Central government administration (9%), Aviation (7%)
Theme(s):
Conflict prevention and post-conflict reconstruction (40% - P) Infrastructure services for private sector development (40% - P) Pollution management and environmental health (20% - S)
         
Prepared by: Reviewed by: ICR Review Coordinator: Group:
William B. Herbert
Peter Nigel Freeman Soniya Carvalho IEGPS1

2. Project Objectives and Components:

a. Objectives:
According to the Project Appraisal Document (PAD p. 8), the project development objective is to i) provide Government with emergency support to restore priority infrastructure in the Port of Monrovia and at Roberts International Airport (RIA) and ii) assist the Government in developing a medium-term strategic framework for rehabilitating the port and aviation sectors.

The project was financed from the Reconstruction Trust Fund for Liberia. The legal document contained no stated development objective.

b. Were the project objectives/key associated outcome targets revised during implementation?
No

c. Components:
The project contained three components.

1. Infrastructure Rehabilitation (Appraisal US$7.70 million; Actual US$8.26 million); This component provided financing for rehabilitating the infrastructure at the Port of Monrovia through: (a) dredging the entrance channel; (b) upgrading oil jetty; (c) strengthening the National Ports Authority (NPA) firefighting capacity; and (d) supply and installation of various navigational, aeronautical, and meteorological equipment; and runway and taxiway lighting at Roberts International Airport (RIA).

2. Technical Assistance and Capacity Building (Appraisal US$0.15 million; Actual US$0.22 million): This component provided financing for selective and ad-hoc technical assistance to Government, including support to developing a strategic framework for the port and aviation sub-sectors, targeted training for NPA and RIA. This component was also designed to support NPA decision to develop a container terminal/handling concession.

3. Project Management (Appraisal US$0.65 million; Actual US$0.02 million): This component provided funding to support a Special Implementation Unit (SIU) to provide coordination, procurement,and M&E support to the Ministry of Public Works. The component also provided funding for a Project Financial Management Unit (PFMU) within the Ministry of Finance.

d. Comments on Project Cost, Financing, Borrower Contribution, and Dates
Project Cost: The original and actual project cost was US$8.5 million. There was a cost overrun for dredging, which accounted for 96% of the total project cost compared to the appraisal estimate of 90%. The overrun was due to; i) the quantity of dredging material was much greater than the original estimate (the Rough Order of Magnitude method of determining volume was incorrect); and (ii) much higher bid prices because of the post conflict situation, which made establishment costly, and the loss of a dredger in Nigeria resulted in less competition. The cost overrun for the dredging caused a number of other components to be delayed. These were dropped and subsequently taken up by other projects so that no extension of the closing date was required.
Financing: The Bank's post conflict re-engagement plan in Liberia included a strategy to finance projects from both the Low Income Countries under Stress Trust Fund and to provide grants from the Bank's surplus. Subsequently, the Board approved a transfer from the Bank's surplus to the Reconstruction Trust Fund for Liberia in the amount of US$25 million. From this amount, US$8.5 million was allocated to the Infrastructure Rehabilitation Project. There was no other external financing.
Borrower Contribution: the Government did not provide counterpart funding.
Dates: The project closed on schedule on September 30, 2010.


3. Relevance of Objectives & Design:

a. Relevance of Objectives:
High At the time of appraisal there was an urgent need to restore priority infrastructure in the Port of Monrovia and at Roberts International Airport. This was consistent with the Bank's overall post conflict re-engagement plan for Liberia. Specifically, the Bank's strategy was to support the country in three priority areas: economic management; infrastructure rehabilitation; and community based development. The objective of this project was highly relevant in that it supported the Government with emergency funding to restore priority infrastructure vital to the functioning of the economy. The overall objective remains highly relevant today and is supported by Government, the International Development Association (IDA), and other partners.

b. Relevance of Design:
Design: Modest. According to the PAD and the ICR "it was reasonable to expect system, facility and equipment failures or collapse to occur at any given time." To meet these challenges, the Bank and the Government of Liberia (GOL) designed an emergency response that would address the most critical and urgent needs at the port and the airport. These included necessary infrastructure, equipment, and appropriate technical assistance. However, design also included some activities that while important were not essential to the emergency response such as developing a medium term strategic framework for rehabilitating the port and aviation sectors, activities associated with port planning, and development of a port concession. While these are important, they were not essential to meet the urgent needs facing Liberia at the time of appraisal. These additional activities resulted in an overly ambitious design. Given the total devastation of infrastructure, the project should have focused only on the rehabilitation of critical infrastructure at the port and airport.


4. Achievement of Objectives (Efficacy) :

Efficacy is assessed separately for the two project objectives: i) provide Government with emergency support to restore priority infrastructure in the Port of Monrovia and at Roberts International Airport (RIA); and ii) assist the Government in developing a medium-term strategic framework for rehabilitating the port and aviation sectors. Objective (i) to provide Government with emergency support to restore priority infrastructure in the Port of Monrovia and at Roberts International Airport (RIA). Substantial.
Outputs:
  • Port dredging was completed to a depth of 11 meters with a channel width of 150 meters.
  • The airfield ground lighting for the runway and taxiways was put in place and instrumental landing system for approach was fully calibrated and made operational.
  • Negotiations to establish a cargo handling private concession in the port were initiated.
  • Three other intended activities had to be dropped due to the cost overruns associated with the dredging of the port, but were partially funded under follow on projects: (i) establishment of an efficient and reliable container handling service: a contract with the private sector was concluded in February 2011 and funded under the follow on Agriculture and Infrastructure Project, and the target to achieve three moves per hour was met; (ii) strengthening of the oil jetty was subsequently funded under the Urban and Rural Infrastructure Project,and is under implementation; and (iii) a dedicated firefighting facility in the port could not be provided, but arrangements were made for the firefighting capacity in the City of Monrovia to be used for the port until funds became available for such a dedicated facility.
Outcomes:
  • Access to the Port of Monrovia was preserved and the target to ensure that vessels with 10.5 meter draft or less could continue to enter the port was met.
  • An air navigation safety system meeting the minimum safety standards of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) was installed at RIA, permitting international air services to use the airport.
Objective (ii) Assist the Government in developing a medium term strategic framework for the aviation and maritime sub-sectors. Modest.
Outputs
  • The project supported three institutional strengthening activities. Two were completed and one was partially achieved: (i) the technical capacity of senior staff at the Special Implementation Unit to provide coordination, procurement, and other support to the Ministry of Public Works was strengthened; (ii) support was provided to the Project Financial Management Unit in the Ministry of Finance; and (iii) strengthening the engineering staff at the National Ports Authority and at RIA, and developing an understanding of Bank policies and procedures among their staffs, was only partially accomplished due to the difficulty in attracting skilled personnel to Liberia.
Outcomes
  • A decision was taken to drop the idea of separate aviation and maritime strategies in favor of a comprehensive national transport policy, including strategic frameworks for the two sub-sectors. Funds allocated under this project were insufficient for this larger undertaking, and it was financed by the German Technical Assistance Agency (GIZ) under the auspices of the follow on Agriculture and Infrastructure Project. The intended outcome of developing strategic frameworks for the port and aviation sub-sectors within the national transport policy was thus eventually achieved, though this was not an accomplishment of the project under review.

5. Efficiency:

Efficiency is rated Modest. For an emergency operation, it is not required to carry out a quantitative analysis of efficiency at appraisal. However, such an assessment should be carried out at closure. This was not done. The ICR (p.17) states that “the trust fund activities have been efficiently implemented as evidenced by the successful and timely accomplishment of key development objectives.” For example, the dredging was accomplished almost two months ahead of schedule and the essential safety equipment was installed on time at the airport. However, the lack of the required quantitative assessment means that efficiency is rated modest.

a. If available, enter the Economic Rate of Return (ERR)/Financial Rate of Return at appraisal and the re-estimated value at evaluation:


Rate Available?
Point Value
Coverage/Scope*
Appraisal:
No
%
%
ICR estimate:
No
%
%

* Refers to percent of total project cost for which ERR/FRR was calculated

6. Outcome:

The situation in Liberia after the civil war was one of total devastation of the infrastructure. This meant that hard choices had to be made between alternative projects and even alternative components. In this case, the overwhelming priority was to restore the airport to minimum ICAO standards and to restore the functioning of the Monrovia Port so that vessels of 10.5 m could use it again. This objective was highly relevant, but the design relevance was modest since the project was cluttered with too many activities which, though important, were of less immediate priority. Most of these -- including the second project objective of developing strategies for the ports and aviation sub-sectors -- were ultimately completed, though under the auspices of other projects rather than the one under review. The efficacy of the second objective is, therefore rated modest. The main objective of the project under review -- re-opening the main port and airport -- was, however, substantially achieved. Efficiency is rated as modest given the absence of any quantitative analysis or information. Overall outcome is assessed as moderately satisfactory.

a. Outcome Rating: Moderately Satisfactory

7. Rationale for Risk to Development Outcome Rating:

The political risk is moderate. It consists mainly in the possible preference of the Authorities for new infrastructure rather than rehabilitation and maintenance of existing facilities. However, at the time of preparing the ICR, it was noted that the National Government and the leadership at the Ministry of Public Works continued to be "strongly supportive of investment in maintenance and rehabilitation."
The financial risk is significant, in particular that insufficient resources are devoted to maintenance dredging (which can be expensive) and to maintaining and upgrading the safety equipment at RIA. This is partly mitigated by the commitment of the international development community to continued support for maintenance of infrastructure through the multi-donor trust fund.
The institutional risk, stemming in particular from the limited experience and capacity in public sector entities to prepare and manage projects, is significant. This is partially mitigated by donor-supported technical assistance and training programs, but these normally require considerable time to bear fruit.

a. Risk to Development Outcome Rating: Significant

8. Assessment of Bank Performance:

a. Quality at entry:
Given the emergency nature of the project, the low level of capacity, and the risk to stability in a post conflict environment, the addition of activities that were not critical to the immediate rehabilitation work, such as developing a port concession, and a strategic framework, resulted in the Project losing some of its focus and becoming too ambitious. Nevertheless, there were some positive features. For example, the Bank appraisal team took into account the findings from prior studies which prioritized essential investments needed to keep the port and airport operational. They also incorporated lessons learned from recent post-conflict countries, namely that concentration of implementation competencies through a consolidated Project Management Unit could be more effective then a stand alone unit. The team put in place the necessary safeguard policies and ensured that the Environmental Management Plan was prepared and disclosed.



Quality-at-Entry Rating: Moderately Satisfactory

b. Quality of supervision:
According to the ICR (p.23) Bank interventions during implementation were timely and provided appropriate advice. The team raised issues and brought them to the attention of both Government and Bank management. The team responded to the major cost overrun issue related to the dredging contract by reallocating funds from other sub-components. However, it was not clear from the ICR whether the team first considered supplementary funding to cover the overrun before "transferring" some sub-components to other projects. During a discussion with the project team, it emerged that this option was considered, but because there was no additional funding at the time available from the Trust Fund, the matter was not pursued.

With regard to fiduciary aspects of the project, Bank's financial management oversight included support to the appropriate units to put in place an effective system that would allow the project to disburse efficiently, and provided training to build capacity in procurement and financial management. However, one financial covenant was not monitored. This covenant required that RIA ensure there was liability insurance coverage during work at the airport. The project provided funding for the insurance but it was not clear whether the insurance was ever actually in force. Payment for the insurance was made to the contractor by RIA, and the contractor reimbursed RIA (which in return refunded IDA) for the cost of the insurance.

While there was no formal mid term review, the supervision team provided continuous and on-going review of the various components and took action to address issues that emerged due to a changing environment. This resulted in the timely restructuring of the project to drop a number of components and ensure those activities were incorporated into other on-going or new projects.

Quality of Supervision Rating: Moderately Satisfactory

Overall Bank Performance Rating: Moderately Satisfactory

9. Assessment of Borrower Performance:

a. Government Performance:
According to the ICR (p. 23) the Government “demonstrated a fair level of commitment and ownership towards the project design, preparation and its implementation." While this is an imprecise measurement, the Government did show commitment to implement needed reform measures, including a "strong resolve to pursue actions that would lead to a public/private partnership concession at the Port of Monrovia". The Ministry of Finance was involved in the design and supervision of the financial aspects of the project and insisted that all fiduciary activities be managed by a unit reporting directly to it.

As mentioned in Section 8, the Legal Covenant requiring Roberts International Airport to carry third party liability/aircraft insurance was not enforced. For this reason the ICR rated government performance as moderately unsatisfactory. However, given the Government's overall commitment and support in a challenging environment, this one issue does not, in the opinion of ,warrant a moderately unsatisfactory rating.

Government Performance Rating: Moderately Satisfactory

b. Implementing Agency Performance:
The Government established a Special Implementation Unit (SIU) for the project. The SIU had to operate in a difficult environment. Appointment of key staff remained an ongoing challenge. This was compounded by the cost overrun and subsequent reduction in funding for project management from US$0.65 to US$0.02 and a reduction in consultant services from US$1.4 million to US$0.2 million. Coordination with the National Ports Authority and Civil Aviation Authority (the main entities involved in the project) was undermined by their lack of experience and adequate management systems. However, the SIU worked well with the Bank, and through their Project Manager, sought Bank’s assistance as required to flag issues and prevent the Project from suffering unnecessary delays, or allowing issues to get out of hand. The grant was almost fully utilized by the end of the second project year out of the four years duration., and the project closed on schedule


Financial management of the project was the responsibility of the Project Financial Management Unit PFMU located in the Ministry of Finance. According to Implementation Status Reports, the Unit's staff, budget, internal controls, disbursements, and audit functions were all satisfactory. However, the coordination between the PFMU (responsible for signing off on payments) and the SIU (responsible for signing off on contract performance and quality) was at times weak and led to delayed payments to contractors .

Implementing Agency Performance Rating: Moderately Satisfactory

Overall Borrower Performance Rating: Moderately Satisfactory

10. M&E Design, Implementation, & Utilization:

a. M&E Design:
At the time of appraisal, the PDO and key indicators for all three components with baseline status for each indicator were defined. However, only one indicator had quantifiable targets due to lack of information. The Special Implementation Unit was given the responsibility for developing the M&E system, including preparation of the monitoring and reporting of project results and performance.

b. M&E Implementation:
According to the ICR the SIU struggled during implementation of the project to provide adequate reporting on indicators. This was due to a lack of capacity and coordination in managing activities at the port and RIA between the SIU and the Ministry of Public Works, Ministry of Finance, and the National Ports and Civil Aviation Authorities.The major reallocation of funding and "dropping” activities from the project also hindered the development of an effective M&E system.

a. M&E Utilization:
The M&E system was never fully established and provided little information. Project monitoring and reporting at the Port was carried out by the Supervision Consultant. Reporting at RIA remained ad-hoc throughout the project.

M&E Quality Rating: Negligible

11. Other Issues:

a. Safeguards:
Environmental: The project was Category "B" and triggered only the Environmental Assessment safeguard, OP 4.01. The ICR reports that a Provisional Environmental Impact Assessment and an Environmental Management Plan were prepared as part of the technical assessment report. The report concluded that "no adverse impacts are anticipated from the investments to be supported at the airport (p. 18 of PAD). However, the assessment did identify some potential adverse impacts at the port. A mitigation plan (EMP) was developed, including for the disposal of dredge material. According to the ICR (page 13) the mitigation plan was managed well and there were "no significant environmental problems". However, the ICR does not explicitly state that OP 4.01 was complied with.

b. Fiduciary Compliance:
Financial Management. The ICR (p. 14) reports that the Project Financial Management Unit was staffed with competent Ministry of Finance staff, supported by technical assistance, and managed by a full-time manager. According to the ICR, financial reporting was timely and records were maintained and audited in a satisfactory manner. However, it is not clear if external audits were qualified. One other issue was related to a financial covenant regarding the issuance of liability insurance at RIA. The premium was repaid to the Project, since the insurance was apparently never in force (see Sections 8b and 9a above).

Procurement.. The Government and implementing agency had very limited procurement capacity, and the Bank Task Team was therefore heavily involved in providing assistance, especially during the initial stages. In view of the emergency nature of the work, steps to procure the design consultant for the dredging operation commenced even before the project was approved. As noted earlier, the dredging was considerably more expensive than foreseen due to only one technically qualified bid, the situation being aggravated by the loss of a dredger in Nigeria. Other than this, there were no significant procurement issues and no reported cases of misprocurement.

c. Unintended Impacts (positive or negative):
None

d. Other:



12. Ratings:

ICR
IEG Review
Reason for Disagreement/Comments
Outcome:
Moderately Satisfactory
Moderately Satisfactory
 
Risk to Development Outcome:
Moderate
Significant
There is a significant risk of under-funding of infrastructure maintenance (especially in the port and its approaches) and of issues stemming from weak project preparation and management capacity. 
Bank Performance:
Moderately Satisfactory
Moderately Satisfactory
 
Borrower Performance:
Moderately Satisfactory
Moderately Satisfactory
 
Quality of ICR:
 
Satisfactory
 
NOTES:
- When insufficient information is provided by the Bank for IEG to arrive at a clear rating, IEG will downgrade the relevant ratings as warranted beginning July 1, 2006.
- The "Reason for Disagreement/Comments" column could cross-reference other sections of the ICR Review, as appropriate.

13. Lessons:
Two of the identified in the ICR are especially noteworthy:

i) If emergency projects, especially in post conflict situations, are not focused on the most urgent and critical tasks, implementation difficulties will accrue and divert management attention away from the critical work at hand.
ii) Estimating costs for major works in post conflict countries is challenging. A different set of tools, including market surveys and larger contingencies might be needed to get a better ballpark estimates.

14. Assessment Recommended?

No

15. Comments on Quality of ICR:

The ICR is clearly written and presents the major achievements and shortcomings of the Project. The ICR also presents a critical analysis of the strengths and weaknesses in what was a difficult emergency situation and outlines important lessons. However, the ICR would have benefited from a more critical assessment of Quality at Entry. Given the importance of the reallocation of funds and the impact on the other project sub-components it would have been useful to know whether the Bank had explored alternative sources of financing to cover the cost of the overrun as an alternative to "transferring" the other components (the project team subsequently acknowledged that this should have been addressed in more detail in the ICR). The ICR could advantageously have provided a clearer and more complete indication in Annex 2 of which "dropped" components were implemented under which other projects. IEG was only able to assess this fully through referencing the Liberia Country Evaluation. The ICR did not include a clear statement of compliance with OP 4.01 or a statement on whether external audits were qualified.

a. Quality of ICR Rating: Satisfactory

(ICRR-Rev6INV-Jun-2011)
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