Issuance Date: June 10, 2011
Closing Date/Time for Submission of Expressions of Interest: Thusday, December 1, 2011 CoB
Subject: Annual Program Statement (APS) Number: APS-2011-01
The purpose of this Annual Program Statement (APS) is to solicit Expressions of Interest (EOIs) and grant applications from qualified, legally registered Serbian non-profit, for-profit, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) for funding innovative approaches to further advance the objectives of the USAID Business Enabling Project in Serbia (“Project”) in the following areas:
- Business Regulation and Economic Governance in Serbia
- Macroeconomic Policy and Public Financial Management in Serbia
- Financial Market Development in Serbia
The USAID Business Enabling Project in Serbia is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (“USAID”) and is being implemented by Cardno Emerging Markets USA, Ltd. (“Cardno”). The purpose of the Project is to help the Government of Serbia (“GoS”) improve the competitiveness of the Serbian economy and its private sector businesses. The overall objective is to assist GoS policy makers, business representatives, experts, and others to improve the business enabling environment and macroeconomic framework. The Project provides technical assistance and training to improve the business enabling environment, support macroeconomic stability, further develop financial markets, and improve and increase business and financial management capacities within government and business.
Subject to the availability of funds, the Project intends to award grants to fund eligible applications that advance Project objectives and generate results in support of those objectives. Any awards resulting from this APS are expected to be in the range of RSD 300,000 to RSD 2,000,000 for a maximum implementation period of six months.
2. Background, Project Objectives, Expected Results, and Indicators
This solicitation is seeking Expressions of Interest (EOIs) and applications from eligible organizations that present creative technical approaches and methodologies for supporting the Project’s objectives as follows:
1. Business Regulation and Economic Governance in Serbia:
- Improve and streamline commercial laws and business regulations including increasing efficiencies in governmental institutions that implement those laws and regulations;
- Support effective partnerships between businesses and Government of Serbia in developing and implementing regulatory reforms;
- Facilitate dialogue between GoS and businesses on regulatory reforms, and relevant outreach activities;
- Improve the regulatory review process and regulatory impact assessment process;
- Improve Government of Serbia’s competition policy and capacity to implement that policy;
- Improve corporate governance standards, policies and regulations.
2. Macroeconomic Policy and Public Financial Management in Serbia
- Improve Government of Serbia’s budgeting, fiscal policy analysis, and financial management efficiency;
- Improve public debt management and conditions for government financing;
- Improve macroeconomic policy and strategy.
3.Financial Market Development in Serbia
- Increase capital available to business through creation of a regulatory framework for non-banking financial institutions;
- Strengthen integrity of the capital markets by ensuring equity issuers and brokers comply with securities laws;
- Improve Government of Serbia access to finance through development of a long-term, liquid public debt market;
- Strengthen public-private dialogue on the financial sector and its role in economic development.
Applicants are encouraged to propose innovative yet sustainable approaches to addressing the issues stated above and producing results to meet the Project’s objectives.
In developing the approach and concept for the grant activity, applicants should review the extent to which the proposed grant activity and approach will address the stated problems/issues, further the Project’s objectives described above, and produce verifiable results that contribute to the Project’s indicators. The Project seeks innovative and creative solutions to the challenges to reaching its objectives.
This APS is open to legally registered Serbian non-profit, for-profit, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Eligible organizations must have the capacity to achieve the proposed grant activity, to produce the desired results, to have a satisfactory performance record, and record of integrity and business ethics.
Ineligible organizations include:
- Public International Organizations;
- Entities that have misused USAID funds in the past;
- Organizations that advocate, promote or espouse anti-democratic policies or illegal activities;
- Political parties or institutions;
- Organizations that intend to use the grant for religious objectives;
- Organizations that are on the list of parties excluded from federal procurement and non-procurement programs or the United Nations Security Sanctions Committee.
Prior to the award of a grant under this APS, successful applicants will be required to sign a Certification Regarding Terrorist Financing certifying that the applicant’s organization does not provide and has never provided assistance to terrorists for terrorist activities. Successful applicants may also be required to sign other Certifications as applicable to the award. The Certifications are attached as Appendix C of this RFA.
Prior to the award of a grant under this APS, successful applicants will also be subject to a pre-award responsibility determination, which will be made by the Project. In making this determination, the Project will determine whether the applicant possesses the organizational capacity, financial capacity, internal controls, procurement systems (if required) and past performance record in order to successfully implement the grant activities. Only organizations that are determined to be responsible will be eligible for award.
4. Expressions of Interest and Applications
This solicitation will involve a multi-tiered evaluation process.
Expressions of Interest
Expressions of Interest may be submitted to the Project at any time prior to the closing date and time as specified in this solicitation. Applicants should submit EOIs in writing to: Zorana Gajic, electronically, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Closing Date for Submission of EOIs is December 1, 2011 and the Closing Time for Submission of EOIs is 17:00 Hours Local Serbia Time. EOIs submitted after this date and time will not be considered under this APS.
The Project will convene a Grants Selection Committee (GSC) that will evaluate EOIs submitted in response to this APS on a rolling basis. EOIs will be evaluated based on the criteria included in Section 5 below. Should an applicant’s EOI be accepted by the GSC, the applicant will be invited to submit a Full Grant Application as detailed below.
Full Grant Application
Upon evaluation of EOIs, USAID Business Enabling Project will invite organizations that submitted successful EOIs to submit a Full Grant Application based on the concept and technical approach proposed in the EOI. All applications must be submitted in the Full Grant Application Format included in Appendix B of this solicitation. The Full Grant Application Format requires applicants to expand on the proposed grant activity, objectives and expected results in detail, including a description of target beneficiaries and stakeholders, a proposed staffing structure, and a detailed grant budget. The Full Grant Application must not exceed 15 pages. Applications in excess of 15 pages may not be reviewed by the Project.
5. Evaluation and Selection
The Project will convene a Grants Selection Committee (GSC) that will review EOIs submitted in response to this APS on a rolling basis. The GSC will evaluate EOIs based on the following criteria:
- Relevance to the USAID Business Enabling Project Objectives: Are the proposed grant activities, goals and objectives in line with the objectives of the Project? Do the proposed grant activities, goals and objectives contribute to the achievement of Project goals and objectives as set forth in the APS?
- Understanding of the Key Issues: Does the applicant demonstrate a clear understanding of the problems/key issues that the proposed grant activity will address?
- Grant Activity Goals and Objectives: Is the overall goal of the proposed grant activity clearly stated and achievable? Does the applicant list specific objectives that will contribute to achieving the grant activity’s goal? Are objectives attainable and related to the overall goal? Is it clear how achieving the grant activity’s overall goal and specific objectives will contribute to solving the key issues?
- Proposed Tasks Activities: Does the applicant propose specific activities that are logical, realistic, and relevant to the grant activity’s goal?
- Outcomes/Expected Results: Do the expected results of the proposed grant activities relate to the key issues and overall grant objective? Are anticipated results directly linked to a specific objective?
- Past Experience: Does the organization have relevant past experience implementing similar activities?
If the GSC accepts the EOI based on the above criteria, the Project will notify the applicant in writing and will invite the organization to submit a full grant application. The deadline for the full grant application will be communicated to the successful applicant upon notification that the EOI has been accepted. The GSC will evaluate the full grant application based on the following evaluation criteria:
- Understanding of the Key Issues (20 points): Does the applicant demonstrate a clear understanding of the problems/key issues that the proposed grant activity will address?
- Grant Activity Goals and Objectives (10 points): Is the overall goal of the proposed grant activity clearly stated and achievable? Does the applicant list specific objectives that will contribute to achieving the grant’s goal?
- Outcomes / Expected Results (10 points): Do the expected results of the proposed grant activities relate to the key issues and overall grant objective? Are anticipated results directly linked to a specific objective? Are the results verifiable?
- Proposed Tasks and Activities (10 points): Does the applicant propose specific activities that are logical, realistic, and relevant to the grant activity’s goal?
- Staffing/Management Plan (20 points): Does the proposed staffing/management plan reflect the personnel/management needs of the grant activity? Does the applicant propose personnel with experience and skills necessary to successfully implement the proposed activities?
- Past Experience (10 points): Does the organization have relevant past experience successfully implementing similar activities?
- Cost Realism (20 points): Is the proposed budget realistic, well-though out, and in-line with the proposed activities? Are the proposed costs reasonable, allowable and allocable to the grant? Is the grantee contributing cost-share?
The Project reserves the right to fund any or none of the applications submitted. Issuance of this APS does not constitute an award commitment on the part of the Project, nor does it commit the Project to pay for costs incurred in the preparation and submission of an EOI or Full Grant Application. Further, the Project reserves the right to reject any or all applications received if such action is considered to be in the best interest of the US Government. Applications are submitted at the risk of the applicant; should circumstances prevent making an award, all preparation and submission costs are at the applicant’s expense.
6. Award Administration
Pursuant to 22 CFR 226.81, it is USAID policy not to award profit under assistance instruments. However, all reasonable, allocable and allowable expenses, both direct and indirect, which are related to the grant activity and are in accordance with applicable cost standards (22 CFR 226, OMB Circular A-122 for non-profit organizations, the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Part 31 for for-profit organizations, and OMB Circular A-21 for educational institutions), may be paid under the grant.
Any resultant award will be subject to the terms and conditions of the Prime Contract for the USAID Business Enabling Project, and Standard Provisions for Non-U.S. Non-governmental Recipients.