Unaddressed comments from the executing agency (EA) for the Toktogul rehabilitation works, the Electric Power Plants (EPP) joint-stock company, left questions regarding the quality of the dam safety assessment component of this project. A report on this assessment was provided and accepted by the EA in-charge of the soft components and which also managed the assessment, the Ministry of Energy and Industry (MOEI). An unclear communications chain complicated matters, as the consultant disregarded EPP’s comments unless received via MOEI. In future, careful and adequate thought should be given to selecting the most appropriate EA, considering as well likely organizational changes that could impact implementation. For example, frequent changes in the government’s ministerial structures under this project hindered continuity and the smooth implementation of some components.
Often, not enough attention is given to developing indicators that are precise and can be easily assessed in post-project evaluations. In this project, the impact indicators of increased exports and increased domestic supply did not foresee the high growth in domestic demand that prevented the export target from being achieved. In this case, total supply, i.e., exports plus domestic supply, would have been a better indicator. Similarly, the output indicator of reducing commercial losses to 10% by the end of the project was poorly selected because KESC’s identifying losses is only the first step. The second step would be to introduce a targeted loss reduction program. It should also be noted that the design and monitoring framework wrongly categorized total distribution losses, including technical and commercial, as commercial losses. Recurrence of these shortcomings in future projects should be avoided as it could hamper and impact on the reliability of performance evaluations.
This project experienced some implementation delays and had two loan extensions. Toktogul’s rehabilitation was delayed by almost 2 years due to a lack of responsive bidders during the initial bidding. The establishment of the Kyrgyz electricity settlement center (KESC) was delayed by 3 years because of difficulties, including disagreements, in developing the implementation consultant’s TOR and incompatibility between the KESC server hardware and the metering and data acquisition software. Two lessons emerge from this experience: (i) contracts need to be carefully packaged, i.e., the initial Toktogul HEPP contract should have been broken into separate lots, while the two separate KESC packages for server hardware and metering software packages should have been combined to improve compatibility; and (ii) clear consultants’ TORs should be developed and agreed by all relevant stakeholders well before implementation, especially when there are complex issues to be resolved.
Utilizing loan and grant savings, a works contract to rehabilitate the 500-kilovolt switchyard at the Toktogul hydroelectric power plant (HEPP) was added to the scope of this project. The additional scope required a supplementary initial environmental examination (IEE) that included the handling of asbestos-containing material, which was not covered by the EMP and therefore needed to be addressed. The executing agency and the project management consultant for the Toktogul HEPP experienced some difficulty in doing this because precise requirements were not specified in the EMP. It would have been useful for ADB to conduct a training on asbestos handling in addition to ADB’s Safeguard Policy Statement. In ongoing and future projects, training and advice on ADB’s safeguard policy should be strengthened and made responsive to issues and concerns that emerge during project implementation.
Providing fiscal resources was clearly urgent to ensure uninterrupted service and to reconstruct houses after the political disturbances. However, providing funds for undamaged but old water supply and sanitation systems was not as urgent and should have been completed as a separate project.
Despite fielding 13 missions, ADB failed to learn of the government’s efforts to undertake component 3B, indicating a possible lack of communication, which needs to be improved.
Capacity building assistance including the provision of necessary facilities and equipment, which is important in protecting the Chatyr-Kul lake wetlands, should have been included in the beginning to mitigate the negative environmental impacts of the project road section traversing the protected area.
The cooperation of business entities, including government agencies, should be solicited to streamline systems and procedures. The need to upgrade procedure manuals and expand ICT capability has been stressed in the PCR with which this validation concurs.
Sharing the experience of other neighboring countries in implementing similar tax reforms and modernization will be helpful in further improving such systems.
In addition, project documents revealed that review missions in the early years of the project were not adequately apprised, by the PMU or consultants, of the seriousness of the project’s problems. The lesson from this is the need for (i) in-depth analysis by missions, and (ii) the establishment of mechanisms for consultants to prepare realistic reports to the PMU and ADB.