‘We are purchasing equipment and services needed to undertake relief and rehabilitation in Iraq,’ Crown Agents director Don Cook told MEED on 27 March. ‘This includes vehicles and other items.’ He declined to say how much is to be spent on behalf of the client. The company has a team member based in Kuwait, but will be placing orders for IRG through its international network. Orders will be placed through direct negotiation rather than by open tender, Cook said.

The IRG contract is for 90 days and involves supporting USAID in the overall planning, monitoring, co-ordination, management and reporting on reconstruction and rehabilitation activities across a variety of sectors.

UK Secretary of State for Trade & Investment Patricia Hewitt on 21 March urged the USAID to allow UK companies to bid for contracts emerging in its reconstruction programme. This followed complaints from British companies that only American companies were being considered for a total of eight contracts issued in late February.