USAID said that the additional contracts will be for agriculture, economic governance and monitoring and evaluating the capital construction contract, which is estimated to be worth at least $500 million. This contract has yet to be awarded. Requests for proposal (RFPs) have not been issued for the three new jobs, but they are expected ‘in the very near future,’ USAID said. The agency has said it has not decided whether the three jobs will be subject to competitive tender.

USAID has awarded four prime contracts so far from the eight originally tendered. They are to the International Resources Group (IRG); Stevedoring Services of America; Research Triangle Instituteand Creative Associates International Incorporated (CAII). State Department officials say the remaining contracts, including the order for major reconstruction work, will be awarded soon.

USAID explained why it chose to limit its request for proposal (RFP) to 21 American companies in tenders for the first eight contracts. ‘The USAID chose to limit competition – in full compliance with the Federal Acquisition Regulation – for these Iraq reconstruction contracts to certain US companies that are known to have a combination of demonstrated technical capability, proven accounting mechanisms, ability to field a qualified technical team on short notice or the requisite clearance to handle national classified security material,’ the agency said. ‘This was done in accordance with existing regulations that permit limited competition when it is necessary to move forward quickly with foreign assistance programmes.’ Only one of the eight initial contracts was sole-sourced: the project awarded to IRG for personnel and other services.

USAID said the policy on subcontracting was to allow prime contractors, which will all be American, to let work to qualified US and foreign companies. ‘The latter will include, but not be limited to, those companies located in coalition partner countries,’ the agency said.

USAID said it has also awarded more than $20 million to non-governmental organisations (NGOs) including Save the Children Fund, the International Medical Corps and the International Rescue Committee. On 11 April, USAID published a request for applications (RFA) for the community action programme. A second RFA, which calls for a programme to establish links between American and Iraqi universities in science, technology and teacher research, is to be issued soon. USAID has also granted more than $293 million to the UN and international organisations for their activities in Iraq.

The major Iraq reconstruction contract awarded by the US government but not financed by the USAID is the order to fight oil fires and start rehabilitation of the Iraq oil sector. These contracts have been awarded to Kellogg Brown & Root, a subsidiary of the Halliburton. The contracts were placed by the US Department of Defence.