Transparency begins from the planning stages. When there are projects, they are advertised. “The procurement process goes on in a transparent manner. I have two local government’s under me, that is the district and the municipal council, they run their different projects, when it comes to monitoring, the RDC is supposed to commission, monitor and ensure that all is happening as per schedule, the RDC or their representatives are supposed to be at all the site visits. Sometimes, with your naked eyes, you can see that a wall is bent. At Muni University, I told the engineers that the plaster was out of place, I instructed them to hack it down and they did. At the grassroots, we have representation, there is no need to wait for the RDC, the people themselves should be the eyes and ears of government projects, the engineer cannot be everywhere at the same time. We had a project in Iriki and the drivers and other officers were siphoning and selling fuel. Every time this happens and you stakeholders stay silent, you are taking part in the failure of the project, wake up and monitor infrastructure projects in your communities” noted Peter Debele, the RDC during the training on 22nd June 2018 at Arua Municipal council, uphill boardroom.
The training that was attended by 33 participants from the district technical and political wings, CSO, media and private sector was mainly centered on the role of the district integrity promotion forums and the CoST infrastructure Monitoring Tool (IMT) and was built on the district’s previous experience in delivering infrastructure. Results of the pre-assessment of the training revealed that; there are no tools, knowledge on monitoring and limited stakeholder participation due to lack of information.
In his remarks while speaking on behalf of the Champion, Erick Makumbi re-echoed that CoST is the infrastructure transparency initiative; a multi stakeholder entity that works with the government, civil society and private sector. “We are not a fault finding entity, on the contrary we are here to share experiences on what has happened else where and how it was resolved. The IMT is meant to help you get scientific responses to the information available on public infrastructure projects, and use it to engage for better value” added Erick.
Calling upon the Central Government to boast Local Government financing to monitor infrastructure, the Deputy CAO noted that; “It is an opportunity for us in Arua to be trained by CoST and DEI, we are pleased. As a district we need to look at the issue of the facilitation of this forum. About 80% of our funds are going through the procurement process thus the need to follow these funds keenly. However, we no longer receive monitoring funds as removed by the Ministry of Finance, it has made public works monitoring difficult, as some of the projects are 60miles away from the district headquarters, if there are no means for a team to travel there, it becomes cumbersome to monitor delivery of such projects”
He appreciated CoST and noted that it was his first time to interface with the tool and found it enriching. It brings a strength to the performance of contracts, he asked all departments to circulate the tool to all the sectors since they all need to be helped by the tool. It is important that districts capacity to deliver better value infrastructure be enhanced from time to time. Noting from the feedback in the post assessments, others called for quarterly, annual workshops on such important documents to ensure that there is progress and documentation of experiences for replica.
Learning that the tool will not only be used to document failures but best practices as well, gave the participants a sigh of hope that, CoST is the long a time desired partner through the Directorate for Ethics and Integrity.