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The World Bank
Governance Global Practice
Middle East and North Africa Region

Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon
February 2011 - December 2013

Senior Public Sector Specialist

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In 2011, I undertook the charge of the Task Team Leader for the Iraq PFM Project under the Iraq Trust Fund with a project cost of $16 million. Under the project, a fully functional MTEF was developed, the Iraqi Medium-term Fiscal (IMF) model was made operational, a comprehensive historical database of fiscal information was put in place, and the Budget preparation process was improved with an increasingly detailed policy focus during strategy discussions. A new ‘Cash Management and Commitment Manual’ was prepared and training imparted. The Capacity Development Plan of the Ministry of Finance Accounting Training Center was prepared and approved by the government. Skills of the Board of Supreme Audit staff in financial, risk-based, procurement, and performance audit and the capacity on oil audit, forensic audit, arbitration, contract management and M&E was significantly enhanced.

Under my strict supervision, there was a significant increase in the disbursement rate from 3 % to 61 % between 2011 and 2013. There was a delivery of fully functional MTEF, Budget Strategy, and Cash Management and Commitment Control Manual.

I also conceived the idea of implementing Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS) for Iraq – a project that was dropped earlier by US Treasury due to security threats. I restarted the process by engaging Free Balance made the government agree on the functional and technical requirements of the system. I also completed the System Requirement Study (SRS) for resulting in a government demand and a new investment lending of $30 million.

I also worked as the TTL for the Iraq Public Sector Governance program under which I organized and facilitated a governance workshop in Beirut in which short and medium term measures to enhance transparency, accountability and participation in Iraq were identified. Based on these, a three year programmatic technical assistance was designed to prepare and implement a prioritized, sequenced and resource-backed Governance Action Plan (GAP). A draft GAP was prepared and was put under use.

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I worked on the preparation of Transparency and Accountability DPL for Egypt in 2011 and held consultations with key government officials, civil society and donors to identify/formulate prior actions for the proposed DPL. I reached agreement with key government officials on the several important policy decisions/prior actions. Although the Government of Egypt finally decided against taking the Bank’s DPL, as a result of my policy dialogue and technical assistance, following policy decisions were taken and successfully implemented: (i) The Ministry of Finance published the summary of draft Budget for 2011-2012 on its website and held prior consultations with stakeholders to obtain their feedback. (ii) The government published on its website the annual budgets of all the desired State Authorities, Special Funds and State Owned Companies. (iii) The amended Executive Regulations of the Government Procurement Law (Law No. 89) were approved by the State Council. (iv) The General Authority on Government Services (GAGS) submitted a draft decree to the MoF to make publication of bidding opportunities and bidding documents on the Government Procurement Portal mandatory.

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As the TTL, I led the team to prepare the ICR for the Lebanon Emergency Fiscal Reforms Implementation Support Project. The mission held detailed discussions with the Government, Development Partners, and other relevant stakeholders to solicit their views on project design, preparation and implementation, as well as key lessons from the project. The key finding of ICR was that in supporting PFM reforms in a political fragile country like Lebanon, type of instrument, design and the duration of engagement need careful consideration. The development objective of the Project was to contribute to improving the control, allocation and use of public financial resources. This was a long-term objective which was difficult to be achieved in an emergency situation. This problem was compounded by the fact that Parliament was not functional for a long period and the budget was not being approved by the parliament and taking the form of a law. Also, the PDO was overly ambitious for a two-year emergency duration. In the absence of a binding framework and a voted budget, it was difficult to enforce fiscal discipline and improve the control, allocation and use of public financial resources within two-years.

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I worked on the Jordan Public Sector Governance Program (P122717) and participated in the Public Sector Governance Mission in Jordan during May-July, 2010. The main objective of the mission was to assist the Government (Ministry of Public Sector Development (MoPSD)) to operationalize the public sector reform agenda and to develop concrete action plans for the implementation of the different activities. I focused on the overall change management process that underpins the reform process and worked closely with the Director, Streamlining Department of MoPSD to analyze the current situation and identified next steps on restructuring of public sector institutions in Jordan.