Encouraging Flexibility in Acquisition Instruments

Speeches Shim

Encouraging Flexibility in Acquisition Instruments (May 7, 2020)

The COVID-19 outbreak continues to have a significant impact around the world.  During this time, the role of the A&A staff is critical to ensuring Agency operations continue as we work to achieve our development results.  I am committed to providing support to the A&A workforce as implementation continues during these uncertain times.

Previously M/OAA issued guidance to USAID Assistance recipients in Memorandum authorizing COVID 19 flexibilities pursuant to OMB Memorandum M-20-17.  This memo waived specific award requirements and authorized Assistance recipients to extend their award’s period of performance.   The nature of Assistance awards allows for these flexibilities, as USAID is providing financial support to a recipient's mission, programs, or activities. 

In acquisition awards, there has not been similar one-on-one federal-wide guidance across for each of the same types of flexibilities as found in assistance. There have been OMB guidance documents related to acquisition, but we'd also like to encourage additional flexibilities for your consideration across contract awards impacted by COVID-19. In acquisition, USAID is acquiring services for the direct-use or benefit of the Agency, and relief or flexibility provided to contract awards as a result of the COVID-19 crisis need to be determined on the circumstances for each specific contract.

In order to assist A&A colleagues in managing Acquisition awards affected by COVID-19, I am issuing the attached guidance titled “Encouraging Flexibility in Acquisition Instruments.”  This memo addresses common requests that COs may receive from contractors as a result of COVID-19 impacts and provides guidance for COs when responding to potential requests.  I encourage the A&A workforce to work in partnership with our contractors and utilize maximum flexibility within rules and regulations when responding to contractor requests.

In addition to this guidance for Acquisition, the A&A workforce should review the guidance issued to the COVID-19 Guidance for Implementing Partners website.  Specifically, I encourage the workforce to stay up to date on the COVID-19 Implementing Partner Guidance Frequently Asked Questions, which is updated each Friday.  

Mark Walther

USAID Bureau for Management
Office of Acquisition & Assistance

Thursday, May 7, 2020 - 11:15am