Request for Concept Notes – Tax Capacity Building Grant at Nathan Associates Inc
FROM: USAID Zambia Revenue for Growth Project
RE: Request for Concept Notes – Tax Capacity Building Grant
ISSUANCE DATE: March 14, 2023, 17:00 Lusaka time
DEADLINE FOR RECEIPT OF QUESTIONS ON CALL FOR CONCEPT NOTES: March 21, 2023, 17:00 Lusaka time
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CONCEPT NOTE SUBMISSION DATE: March 28, 2023, 17:00 Lusaka time.
Nathan Inc., as prime contractor of the U.S. Agency for International Development-funded project, Revenue for Growth Activity (R4G) is launching a Tax Capacity Building Grant program to increase the capacity of non-state actors to conduct economic analysis and advocacy on taxation in Zambia. The grant will be in the form of one Fixed Amount Award (FAA). Application requirements, as well as review criteria, are outlined in this document. Please note that the successful applicant is required to possess a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) as described under Attachment B.3 below.
Applicants participating in this Request for Concept Notes must submit a Concept Note in electronic format by 17:00 Lusaka time on March 28, 2023. Concept Notes must be emailed to RGARecruiting@nathaninc.com and copy CKalisha@nathaninc.com. No expressions of interest by phone will be accepted. Please send any questions by March 21, 2023, via email.
On April 6, 2023, bidders will be notified if they are invited to submit a full application.
This Request for Concept Notes, including this cover letter, in no way obligates Nathan to award a grant nor does it commit Nathan to pay for any costs incurred in the preparation and submission of an application. Furthermore, Nathan reserves the right to reject any and all applications, if such action is considered to be in the best interest of USAID.
Background of the R4G Project
In June 2021 Nathan Associates Inc. was awarded the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Revenue for Growth Project (R4G). R4G is supporting the Government of the Republic of Zambia (GRZ) in its efforts to improve domestic resource mobilization (DRM) and expand the fiscal space for public spending and investments in service delivery and poverty reduction.
The R4G project has the following four objectives.
R4G will engage government and non-government stakeholders to build capacity in tax policy analysis, improve tax compliance and administration, and strengthen the tax culture in a manner that facilitates private sector growth and accountability relationships between taxpayers and the GRZ. As significant changes in tax policy are politically challenging, R4G will include support to the private sector and civil society stakeholders, as well as the GRZ, to promote improved tax analysis, dialogue, and advocacy and build coalitions that can mobilize support for both DRM and broader fiscal policy reforms.
R4G utilizes grants awarded to a selection of local and regional non-governmental entities to combine and capture the assets and expertise of a range of registered organizations, associations, and businesses. The grant described in this document is the second in a series of grants R4G plans to issue to support domestic revenue mobilization initiatives in Zambia.
Tax Capacity Building Grant Activity Background and Objectives
In 2021 and 2022 R4G engaged non-state actors, including many civil society organizations (CSOs), to solicit their input on key tax policy and tax administration issues affecting non-state actors as well as the public at large. In February 2022 R4G mobilized CSOs to identify, discuss, and prioritize key tax policy and tax administration issues, as well as to assess their own capacity gaps and prioritize capacity needs. As a result of this stakeholder mapping and capacity assessment activity, R4G identified economic analysis and advocacy as two key areas where there is a need to build the capacity of non-state actors to contribute to the formulation of tax policies.
To address this issue, R4G invites eligible organizations to apply for a grant intended to build the capacity of non-state actors in economic analysis and advocacy to meaningfully contribute to the formulation of tax policies in Zambia.
Local and international organizations described under the Grant Funding Mechanism section below are eligible to apply for this grant. Applicants may elect to form consortia or partnerships with other organizations to implement activities funded through this grant.
Specific objectives of the grant activity include the following:
Grant Activity Methodology and Qualifications
Applicants should provide a clear methodology detailing activities that will be conducted to build the capacity of a combination of eight CSOs and private sector institutions in economic analysis and advocacy. The methodology should include, but not be limited to, the following:
In addition, the methodology must demonstrate a clear understanding of the need for gender equality and social inclusion in all economic and advocacy activities. Consideration should be taken to ensure that men, women and marginalized groups are targeted in outreach activities.
Grantees must demonstrate that they possess the following qualifications:
Period of Performance and Deliverables
The Tax Capacity Building Grant is projected to be awarded in May 2023 and expected to commence upon issuance of the grant. The primary deliverable is a series of activities, to be determined by R4G and the grantee, that are conducted to increase the capacity of non-state actors to conduct economic analysis and advocacy on taxation in Zambia. The series of activities will take place between May 2023 and December 2023. The activities and their impact are to be documented in a Tax Capacity Building Grant Report which is to be completed and submitted no later than December 2023.
R4G staff will play a supervisory and technical advisory role throughout the Tax Capacity Building Grant period to ensure the methodology and approach employed by the grantee follow best practices. In addition, R4G will provide technical support in reviewing the Tax Capacity Building Grant Report.
Grant Funding Mechanism
R4G will award a single Fixed Award Amount (FAA) grant to support the activities to be performed under this grant. The grant activities are expected to last no more than twelve months. The maximum value of a grant awarded in response to this solicitation is USD60,000. (All budgets should be calculated in Zambian kwacha). The grant will include well-defined milestones, based on which grant payments will be made to the recipient. The amount of available funding is subject to change and Nathan reserves the right to make no awards as a result of this RFA. This grant opportunity is contingent on donor funding.
To be eligible for this grant opportunity applicants must be from the cooperating country (Zambia) or from the US. Grants are also open to international, non-US organizations but with the additional requirement that the organization must be registered to work in Zambia and at least 80% of the grant proceeds are spent in Zambia.
Concept Note Submission Instructions
Please see the Concept Notes Form in Annex 1 for all requirements. A summary of requirements for the Application is listed below:
The Concept Note should be no more than six pages in total. Any material over 6 pages, including annexes, will not be read or evaluated.
Cost Application: Concept Note
Applicants should propose a realistic, reasonable, and justifiable budget necessary to implement the proposed grant activities. All budgets should be calculated in Zambian kwacha (with equivalence in USD – maximum USD60,000). Awards will be paid in Zambian kwacha by electronic bank transfers. Budgets should be presented in an MS Excel document with sufficient breakdown of all the cost elements (during full application). All costs charged to the grant will be evaluated applying US Government guidance as provided in 2 CFR 200 and must be reasonable, allocable, and allowable.
Review Criteria for Concept Note
All submissions will be reviewed to check for eligibility and completeness of the submission. All eligible and complete submissions will be reviewed by R4G’s Grant Review Committee. The review will include whether the proposed activities further R4G’s overall goals and objectives. The Grant Review Committee will adhere to a number of guidelines and processes agreed with USAID to avoid potential conflicts of interest and lack of transparency, and to support fair, objective, and consistent review of all applications.
Contacts and Submission Information
A Concept Note is due in electronic format in MS Word and/or PDF formats, by 17:00 Lusaka time on March 28, 2023. It must be emailed (no phone expressions of interest will be accepted) to RGARecruiting@nathaninc.com and copy CKalisha@nathaninc.com.
Attachment A. Application Requirements and Review Criteria, Eligibility Criteria
In accordance with the Federal Grant and Cooperative Agreement Act, Nathan encourages competition in the award of all grants awarded under R4G and will seek to identify and fund the programs that best achieve the project’s objectives.
Nathan will not limit eligibility when awarding grants unless USAID authorizes a restriction on eligibility in accordance with ADS 303.3.6.4. 2 CFR 200 requires that Nathan publish an announcement, normally an APS or RFA, seeking applications from all eligible and qualified entities (see ADS 303.3.5).
In reference to ADS 303.3.6 and 303.3.6.1, each Annual Program Statement (APS) or Request for Application (RFA) that R4G releases will include a clear description of the eligibility information and eligibility requirements that will address all considerations and factors that will determine the applicant’s eligibility for all awards.
Additional Documentation and Certifications
All statements required of applicants are listed in Attachment B.
Estimated Award Timeline
Below is the estimated award timeline. All grant activities will conclude on December 15, 2023. This end date must be duly considered in the applicant’s milestone/deliverable.
Payment schedules and methods will be laid out in the Grant Agreement. Payments for FAA grants will be against milestones/deliverables decided upon between Nathan and the Grantee. Grant payments made under Simplified Grants will be based on results and objectives that will have been set up and agreed upon between Nathan and the Grantee. Payment will be made by electronic bank transfer of funds and within 30 days of approval of each milestone or deliverable.
Attachment B. Regulations and Exclusions
Additional eligibility criteria for grant awards include the following:
The following are ineligible for grant awards:
If an organization or its key personnel, shareholders, directors or partners appear on any of the following lists, it is automatically ineligible to receive a grant:
Attachment C: Certification Regarding Terrorist Financing, Implementing Executive Order 13224
By signing and submitting this application, the prospective grantee provides the certification set out below:
1. The Grantee, to the best of its current knowledge, did not provide, within the previous ten years, and will take all reasonable steps to ensure that it does not and will not knowingly provide, material support or resources to any individual or entity that commits, attempts to commit, advocates, facilitates, or participates in terrorist acts, or has committed, attempted to commit, facilitated, or participated in terrorist acts, as that term is defined in paragraph 3.
2. The following steps may enable the Grantee to comply with its obligations under paragraph 1:
a. Before providing any material support or resources to an individual or entity, the Grantee will verify that the individual or entity does not (i) appear on the master list of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons, which is maintained by the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), or (ii) is not included in any supplementary information concerning prohibited individuals or entities that may be provided by USAID to the Grantee.
b. Before providing any material support or resources to an individual or entity, the Grantee also will verify that the individual or entity has not been designated by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) sanctions committee established under UNSC Resolution 1267 (1999) (the “1267 Committee”) [individuals and entities linked to the Taliban, Usama bin Laden, or the Al-Qaida Organization]. To determine whether there has been a published designation of an individual or entity by the 1267 Committee, the Grantee should refer to the consolidated list available online at the Committee’s Website: http://www.un.org/Docs/sc/committees/1267/1267ListEng.htm.
c. Before providing any material support or resources to an individual or entity, the Grantee will consider all information about that individual or entity of which it is aware and all public information that is reasonably available to it or of which it should be aware.
d. The Grantee also will implement reasonable monitoring and oversight procedures to safeguard against assistance being diverted to support terrorist activity.
3. For purposes of this Certification:
a. “Material support and resources” means currency or monetary instruments or financial securities, financial services, lodging, training, expert advice or assistance, safe houses, false documentation or identification, communications equipment, facilities, weapons, lethal substances, explosives, personnel, transportation, and other physical assets, except medicine or religious materials.”
b. “Terrorist act” means
i. An act prohibited pursuant to one of the 12 United Nations Conventions and Protocols related to terrorism (see UN terrorism conventions Internet site: http://untreaty.un.org/English/Terrorism.asp); or
ii. An act of premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents; or
iii. Any other act intended to cause death or serious bodily injury to a civilian, or to any other person not taking an active part in hostilities in a situation of armed conflict, when the purpose of such act, by its nature or context, is to intimidate a population, or to compel a government or an international organization to do or to abstain from doing any act.
c. “Entity” means a partnership, association, corporation, or other organization, group or subgroup.
d. References in this Certification to the provision of material support and resources must not be deemed to include the furnishing of USAID funds or USAID-financed commodities to the ultimate beneficiaries of USAID assistance, such as grantees of food, medical care, micro-enterprise loans, shelter, etc., unless the Grantee has reason to believe that one or more of these beneficiaries commits, attempts to commit, advocates, facilitates, or participates in terrorist acts, or has committed, attempted to commit, facilitated or participated in terrorist acts.
e. The Grantee’s obligations under paragraph 1 are not applicable to the procurement of goods and/or services by the Grantee that are acquired in the ordinary course of business through contract or purchase, e.g., utilities, rents, office supplies, gasoline, etc., unless the Grantee has reason to believe that a vendor or supplier of such goods and services commits, attempts to commit, advocates, facilitates, or participates in terrorist acts, or has committed, attempted to commit, facilitated or participated in terrorist acts.
This Certification is an express term and condition of any agreement issued as a result of this application, and any violation of it will be grounds for unilateral termination of the agreement by USAID prior to the end of its term.
Certification of Grantee
By signing below the grantee provides certifications and assurances for the Prohibition on Assistance to Drug Traffickers for Covered Countries and Individuals (ADS 206) and the Certification Regarding Terrorist Financing Implementing Executive Order 13224 above. These certifications and assurances are given in consideration of and for the purpose of obtaining any and all Federal grants, loans, contracts, property, discounts, or other Federal financial assistance extended after the date hereof to the grantee by the Agency, including installment payments after such date on account of applications for Federal financial assistance which was approved before such date. The grantee recognizes and agrees that such Federal financial assistance will be extended in reliance on the representations and agreements made in these assurances, and that the United States will have the right to seek judicial enforcement of these assurances. These assurances are binding on the grantee, its successors, transferees, and assignees, and the person or persons whose signatures appear below are authorized to sign these assurances on behalf of the grantee.
Request for Application __________________________________
Date of Application _____________________________________
Name of Grantee _______________________________________
Typed Name and Title ___________________________________
ANNEX 1. GRANT CONCEPT NOTE FORM
Revenue for Growth Project (R4G) Grant Concept Note
Instructions: The Concept Note should be a short activity description, which clearly describes the activity’s goals as it relates to the project and should provide an overview of key approach and methodologies, quality control, relevant experience in conducting similar assignments, and key personnel (no more than 6 pages).
The R4G Concept Note must be submitted in Times New Roman, size 12 single font, include page numbers and include all the information in the following sections:
1. Cover Page/Introduction: (Maximum 1 page)
II. The Organization’s Capabilities in tax economic analysis and advocacy (1 page).
III. Technical Approach and Methodology: (Maximum 2-3 pages)
IV. Summary of Key Personnel (including Team Lead) (1 page)
V. Budget Range Estimate (Excel budget not required. Only a budget range should be included in the Concept Note.
To apply for this grant email your details to RGARecruiting@nathaninc.com and copy CKalisha@nathaninc.com.
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