Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Overhead costs eating up as much as half Iraq reconstruction money

The costs of reconstruction in Iraq are extremely high, effectively completed projects rare. Problems run from poorly written contracts, poor planning, ineffective or no oversight, all on top of flat stupid things like letting a contract out, sending the company and its people to Iraq, then paying them to sit for nine months before they can start work on the project.

This is from NY Times Oct 25, 2006:
In Iraq, where construction materials are scarce and contractors must provide security for work sites and housing for Western employees, officials have said they expect the overhead to be at least 10 percent, but the contractors and American officials have grudgingly conceded that the true costs have turned out to be higher.

But even the high of 55 percent could be an underestimate, Mr. Mitchell said, because the government often did not begin tracking overhead costs for months after the companies mobilized. He added that because of the haphazard way in which the government tracked the costs, it was not possible to say how well the figures reflected overhead charges in the entire program.
The attempt to get things done seem to consist of government planners saying we need something done, getting the money from Congress, issuing a no-bid contract for the work and then shoveling the money out to the contractor. After that, there is no effective supervision, inspection or evaluation.

This is not the way to run a railroad government project. But how would the Libertarian-infested Republicans know that?

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