New Delhi, April 18:  The United States agency for international development (USAID) has accorded a preferred status to companies of allied countries for undertaking sub-contract works in the bombed out Iraq. India does not figure in this list.

“Prime contractors, who are responsible for successful completion of their contracts, will be able to award subcontracts to qualified American and foreign companies. The latter will include, but not be limited to, those companies located in coalition partner countries,” the agency said in a statement.

However, Indian companies, under the aegis of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry and Confederation of Indian Industry have already registered themselves with USAID for reconstruction works. Ficci, which has been successful in including wheat in the UN’s oil-for-food programme by lobbying in New York is positive that Indian companies may bag sub-contracts worth $10 billion from prime contractors.

“The Ficci will sending another delegation to the US for the same,” its president AC Muthaiah said.

On the other hand, CII is keeping its hopes low. “There is no point in taking a delegation to the US as USAID does not entertain any such move,” a CII official told FE. “Most of the contracts will be awarded to the US and its allies,” he added.

The agency has issued nine solicitations for Iraq reconstruction, a part of $1.7-billion reconstruction programmes excluding $543 million humanitarian aid.

Four projects have already been awarded to American companies — personnel support contract is awarded to the Virginia-based International Resources Group; seaport administration contract to the Washington-based Stevedoring Services of America; and local governance contract has been awarded to the North Carolina-based non-profit organisation, Research Triangle Institute. The primary and secondary education contract has been awarded to Creative Associates International Inc, another US entity.

Other contracts in the pipeline are airport administration (management of humanitarian and trans-shipment operations by air), capital construction (emergency repair of electrical supply, water and sanitation systems, roads and bridges and public buildings), theater logistical support (warehousing, customs clearance, trucking and provision of bottled water), public health (to restore public health services) and Iraq community action programme.

“The programme administered by USAID is funded by US taxpayers. Revenues from the oil-for-food programme, or other Iraqi or international sources have no contribution to these contracts,” the agency said in a statement.

In all, 21 firms had been asked to bid for various reconstruction and humanitarian projects in Iraq. “Only one of the first eight contracts have been sole-sourced by USAID - for personnel support - has been awarded to International Resources, which has a work record of over two decades with the agency and with international development agencies in more than 120 countries,” it said, adding “sole source means that only one firm is solicited to undertake the work because it is uniquely qualified to do so.”

Even for construction works, American companies such as the Bechtel Group Inc, Halliburton Co, Louis Berger Group and Fluor Corp, have been invited to bid for about $900 million projects on an emergency basis. Three more contracts are expected in agriculture, economic governance and monitoring and evaluation of capital construction contract.