Federal and contractor management failures are to blame for delays and cost overruns on a $300-million powerplant project in Afghanistan, says a new report by the U.S. Special Inspector General of Afghanistan Reconstruction. The 105-megawatt, dual-fuel Tarakhil Power Plant near Kabul was supposed to be finished by last April. It is now expected to be completed by March 31, a year late and about $40 million over budget.
The Jan. 20 report blames the U. S. Agency for International Development and lead contractor Black & Veatch Corp., Overland Park, Kansas. It notes that, “under pressure of political urgency,” the original statement of work lacked specific deliverables or deadlines. Instead, the project ran on a string of task orders without an established schedule, according to the report. Land ownership issues took nearly a year to resolve, and between award in July 2007 and December 2008, the project underwent 15 contract modifications. Black & Veatch spokesman Carl Petz says the budget increased as scope was defined. The initial estimate of $125 million was for 18 diesel generators in an existing plant. The final plan called for a new facility costing $260 million.