Stan Soloway: Picking at USAID Contractors Won't Reform Procurement Process

A water plant constructed by Iraqi contractors and workers and funded by USAID. Photo by: Ben Barber / USAID

Slamming and ridiculing contractors for doing the tasks they were paid to perform would not fix the U.S. Agency for International Development’s procurement process, the head of the trade association representing U.S. government contractors argues.

Stan Soloway, president of the Professional Services Council, is reacting to Walter Pincus’ Jan. 25 column, which he says provides a “highly distorted picture” of a recent speech by USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah and of the reforms needed to modernize the U.S. foreign aid system.

“All true development professionals applaud the recognition that writing checks - to contractors or grantees - does not equate to development,” Soloway writes in a letter to the editor of The Washington Post. “Under the evaluation policy described by Mr. Shah, contractors are confident they will win their fair share of work when the competition is decided based on evidence, not on anti-contractor anecdotes or punch lines.”

In a Jan. 19 speech hosted by the Center for Global Development in Washington, Shah unveiled several new procurement reform initiatives meant to boost the monitoring and evaluation of field projects and more closely scrutinize especially the government’s larger implementing partners. Among these are a new evaluation policy that requires a performance evaluation conducted by independent third parties and not by implementing partners themselves.

>> Rajiv Shah Unveils New USAID Evaluation Policy, Previews Other Contracting Reforms

About the author

  • Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.