1. Activities and Achievements of the Month
1.1 Summary of Progress
The reporting month of July is the fourth month of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. After the reopening of the GoB offices from the previous month, the national experts of the Project Implementation (PI) Consultant Team also started to reappear in their SREDA Project Office. International consultants, however, still had to work from remote environment, under indefinite restrictions to be coming over to perform their field activities in Bangladesh.
Following the mobility restrictions due to COVID-19 pandemic, there were also work resources (person-months) constraints which made the PI Consultant Team cut down its activities. First, for the international consultants, it was only the resources allocated for their home-based work that they could be using for their remote environment activities, without the flexibility of allocating their field-based working resources. The home-based work resources for some of the international consultant members are about to run out after the consecutive months of remote work, resulting in slowing down of their Project implementation activities. Restrictions to the use of the national experts’ working resources were also imposed from this month, due to administrative reasons, resulting the slowdown of the field activities.
Under such constraints, the major part of the PI Consultant Team’s work this month was focused on the project implementation environment improvement (on the Project MIS), and on the compilation of the quarterly progress report for April-June 2020 (QPR16). There were also some supportive works for SREDA’s eligibility checking processes.
1.2 Issuing of the Business Process Manuals version 5.0
Having received JICA concurrence on the business process manuals version 4.1b, SREDA issued the officially-concurrent version 5.0 incorporating the updates incurred from version 4.0. The major update was on the raising of the maximum loan amount for a sub-project from BDT 1 billion to BDT 1.5 billion. This improvement was in response to the increasing demand from the proponents to finance the entire cost of the eligible equipment, without resorting to any other supplemental financing arrangements. Moreover, the temporary upper threshold of BDT 1 billion was formerly set to make the limited loan fund available to as many proponents as possible, before the decision to introduce the Phase II Project.
There were some other improvements to the business processes to ensure smoother implementations of the Project. These included, (i) revision of one application per one company group restriction, (ii) addition of model change reporting process, (iii) flexibility added to allow D/D and conditional loan decision in parallel with SREDA eligibility checking. Some updates were dedicated to restoring consistencies between the manuals and the actual process being implemented. These updates will contribute to making the business processes easier to understand. Major updates are as follows: (i) replacement of MIS activity code with the relevant “tab names”, (ii) process to return to preliminary eligibility checking for equipment list correction added, (iii) equipment code 9.8.1 classification in Annex 12 rearranged to become 9.8.1 (1) to 9.8.1 (5), (iv) environmental categorisations on Annex 34 elaborated in response to Phase II Project requirements, and (v) SREDA letter formats revised (mostly headers).
1.3 Assistance for NOC Issuing
During the month, SREDA received two NOC requests from IDCOL. Among them, one was AD20032301, which is a replacement of the recently discontinued application AD19092201. It was originally submitted back in 24 March 2020, but revised and resubmitted on 8 July 2020. Another was a brand-new NOC application AD19120301, which was originally submitted on 29 June 2020, but to be returned, revised and resubmitted also on 8 July 2020. Both of these two NOC requests were received by SREDA on the same day, 8 July 2020. It is expected that a whole or a part of the loan fund will be allocated from the Phase I Project fund. The PI Consultant Team assisted SREDA in carrying out the eligibility checking process. The NOCs are yet to be issued as of the end of July.
1.4 Project Implementation Environment Improvement
The Works are aimed to be preparations for a better work environment in future, when the Project stakeholders’ mobility restrictions are relieved. There were three major improvements implemented during the reporting month. The first is the ESMS report generation function improvement, which was initiated during the previous month, to be completed in July. The second is the institutional decision date correction and acceptance configuration, which was documented as the change request for the first time and attached to this report (although the issue has been prevailing, being reported from the IFIs since long ago). The third is the process clarification on the issue management module data migration. This third item was not anticipated until the issue management module was introduced. It is therefore, documented for the first time, and also attached to this report.
These environment improvement works comprise a significant portion of the achievements of the PI Consultant Team during the month. This is because these activities could be conducted from a remote working environment among the PI Consultant Team members, SREDA and the IFIs. The national expert members of the PI Consultant Team, under the management of the information management expert Dr Mahady Hasan contributed to the improvements, with inputs from the environmental and social considerations experts from CEGIS, energy audit experts and information management expert (operation & database management) from CSL Software Resources.
(1) ESMS report generation function improvement
After the last month’s work to identify some improvement requirements in the Project MIS environmental and social performance report (ESPR) generation function, the PI Consultant Team prepared a further comprehensive improvement plan for the whole process of environmental and social management system (ESMS), to be dealing continuously with all of the sub-projects (as opposed to the one-off checking for a large number of sub-projects as initially designed for). The system requirement specification (SRS) was prepared (previously reported in June with Appendix 10-2), and was revised and updated. It comprised of as-is analysis and to-be requirement descriptions. The Project MIS modification, to be implemented in accordance with the SRS is expected to be reflected onto the production (live) environment in the beginning of August.
(2) Institutional decision date correction and acceptance configuration
The Project MIS is designed with the business process sequence rules. It does not allow the business processes to be skipped (omitted), or to be done in a wrong sequential order. One of the features was that the institutional decision date, to be registered by the IFIs for each application had to be after the date of the manager’s approval for loan decision (with respect to the process sequence). However, in many of the actual cases the manager’s approval was registered well after the actual date, making it impossible to register the correct institutional decision date. The IFIs have therefore been entering the dummy institutional decision date, with the mentioning of the correct date in the note fields. To rationalise the situation the PI Consultant Team decided to partially relieve the date sequence requirement, to allow any past dates after the institutional clearance date to be entered as the institutional decision date. Further, the PI Consultant Team also decided to correct the dummy institutional decision date records of the total of 7 applications with the actual dates as mentioned in the note fields. A change request document on the institutional decision date issue was prepared during the month (Appendix 11-1). Based on the change request the Project MIS configuration change and the backend data change will be conducted and completed within August 2020.
(3) Process clarification on the issue management module
The issue management records for the period prior to the module introduction had to be kept outside the Project MIS, in a spreadsheet. Now, the MIS issue management module started operation. Following the integration of the module into the production (live) environment of the Project MIS, there was a need for data migration. The issue management data recorded in the external spreadsheet had to be loaded onto the newly-introduced module as the data migration.
After the data migration, the issue management module came into use. Going through the issue management with the actual cases, it was found that the Developer, information management expert (operation & database management) from CSL Software Resources make use of the MIS test environment to ensure that the proposed solutions are actually being effective. The use of the MIS test environment, required a proper data update prior to usage. Such was not clearly stipulated in the process flow of the issue management module system requirements.
Based on the explanations from the developers, the PI Consultant Team recognised the change in the sequence of communications. A process clarification document was prepared with the aim to elaborate and share the findings, and then to seek for solutions (Appendix 11-2). The sequence diagram was updated by incorporating the components. The diagram below is showing that the process sequence is distributed among two components. The first component is MIS production (live) component and the second is MIS test component. The solution would be pushed in the MIS test components and will be checked in the same component, but rest of the activities are done in the MIS live component.
1.3 Project Administration Works
There was no outlook for the resumption of the international consultant members’ field activity in Bangladesh. The physical movement of the national experts of the PI Consultant Team also remained restricted due to the general recommendation to minimise commuting and interactions among the people. The project administration, focusing on communication and coordination continued to be an essential function for the Project to be going on. One of the core administrative work conducted during the reporting month was the compilation of the quarterly progress report for the second quarter of 2020 (April – June). This QPR16 included the report on the first occurrence of repayment arrears with the Project loan, and therefore required significantly more information collection from the IFIs compared with the past QPRs. Logistical arrangement of the movement and the meetings among the national experts of the PI Consultant Team was a routine, but also an important part of the Project Administration works.
The Project Administrator also worked on some of the tangible outputs (which are still being prepared), such as on the study on integrating SREDA Standard and Labelling Program with EECPFP Component III (for residential sector), registering sub-project’s energy & production related data into the Project MIS, preparation of NOC supporting documents for 4A Yarn Dyeing application, among others.
Under a restricted movement where the international consultant members cannot physically be present in Bangladesh, and the national consultant members have to minimise their daily commuting, the Project administration, focusing on communication and coordination has become an essential function for the Project to be going on.
Because the Project administration work does not produce tangible outputs such as documents to be attached onto this monthly progress report, a list of work conducted during the month is included herewith.
- Monitored and organized transportation activities, checking invoice (Rental car bill for the month of June, 2020) and log-sheet information provided by the service provider, orchestrating transportation movements and arranging services when necessary.
- As per team decision, scheduling and managing National PI team members’ physical attendance at SREDA office work place by rotational support at a good team collaboration to avoid social distancing and safety precautions due to COVID-19 outbreak worries in the country.
- Follow up and going through Team Leader shared EECPFP finalized- Enhanced Eligible Technology & Equipment List (which is finalized and to be consulted with TAC), Fund Requirements (market size) and Energy Saving Potentials calculations, PPT Presentation for the Technical Advisory Committee. Followed up IFIs responds on them.
- Helped and supported on regularizing MIS issues like going through, follow up and corresponding with CSL and Project MIS expert; coordinated among team leader (TL), Project Manager (PM) and other international members when necessary on- MIS Issue management modules test result analysis, MIS Issue documentation, released versions, MIS issue module data updates and going live with MIS Module and next ESMS module, ESMS required documentation checklist and ESPR preparation functions on the MIS, old data migration in MIS Issues and reports, CR issues on institutional date, Release in test environment etc.
- Follow up NOC Requests AD19120301 and AD20032301 on the Project MIS and in communication with IDCOL.
- Follow up the issue of EECPFP – PI Consultant Team Member Introduction (updated).
- Working on PI team’s immediate work plan and team members’ availability and related activities plan.
- Helped supported preparing Monthly Progress Report for June 2020 (MPR10) and Quarterly Progress Report (QPR16) inputs.
- Supporting Dr Kikukawa on getting information on “other development partner’s EE&C promotion instruments” like ADB and AFD loan operations- lending terms, eligibility, target etc and meeting arrangement with PD, EECPFP. Provided a report framework and ppt from Dr Kikukawa to PD and studying TL suggested web news.
- Finalizing and reporting on- Integrating “SREDA Standard and Labelling program” with EECPF project Component III: Home appliances.
- Follow up new released Business Process Manual of Energy Efficiency and Conservation Promotion Financing Project, version 5.0.
- Follow up BIFFL NOC extension request for AF19122401.
- Follow up new issue with CSL and MIS expert that had been reported in MIS/DASH system by IDCOL
- Follow up EECPFP – JICA letters to GoB (in March and June).
- Follow up Project Manager’s instruction to Car service provider on COVID-19 countermeasures.
- To enhance the project equipment list; coordinated among team leader (TL), Project Manager (PM) and other international members with Energy audit National team and other organizations e.g. H&M to create better project equipment list to achieve project’s better energy saving goals.
- Follow up and check the updated MIS for all (IDCOL, BIFFL and SREDA) and PI team members ID functioning PI Consultants’ role to take care MIS issue management module.
- EECPFP – Remote meeting with the new SREDA Chairman.
- Studying TL suggested GIZ project website on SREDA webpage (http://reeep.sreda.gov.bd ) to standardize EECPFP – Project information on SREDA Website.
- Follow-up Snowtex Sportswear Ltd application and Equipment purchased.
- Translating Project Manager’s provided instruction manual from Health department on COVID-19 countermeasures.
- Managed schedules for the meetings and recording decisions and communicate as and when necessary to all/ individual team members for action items or progress during meetings and performs basic follow-up afterwards.
- Maintained good communication and collaboration among the international and National team members due to recent COVID 19 situation sharing country updates among the team. Helped finding doable tasks, set timeframes & goals, provided documentation to team members retrieving necessary information from previous sources. Maintaining and monitoring project plans, project schedules, work hours, discussing updates.
- Observed the National team member’s activities and reporting to TL and PM for smooth-running of the team-management and cross-checked planned work schedules, when necessary.
- Support TL and PM in managing project activities following instructions, recommending changes, keeping update on compliance or national issues as per requirement.
Appendix 11-1: Change Request – Institutional Decision Date Issue
Appendix 11-2: Change Request – Issue Management Process Clarification