In July 2017, CoST Uganda published a Scoping Study which identified that only 30% of the data points in the CoST Infrastructure Data Standard is legally required to be disclosed and that the average amount of data that is actually disclosed by public procuring entities is 34%. The Study also revealed that whilst Uganda has an ‘enabling environment’ for the implementation of CoST there is still work to be done. It identified challenges concerning a lack of data capacity, a lack of judicial appeal mechanisms, attitudes of public officials, limited civic engagement, and poor information storage and retrieval systems.
The Study recommended that the Government adopt a Formal Disclosure Requirement to provide a legal mandate for disclosing data throughout the project cycle. Among other things, it recommended that the Ministry of Works and Transport champion the CoST Infrastructure Data Standard within government to build and create awareness on data disclosure among public officials.
The Ministry has stepped into its role as ‘Champion’, promoting the use and adoption of the Standard and CoST principles within government and to procuring entities and the private sector. Consequently, the number of major procuring entities seeking to embrace CoST in Uganda has increased from four in 2017 to 17 Procurement Entities including 7 Local governments in August 2019.
CoST Uganda conducts independent studies on sampled infrastructure projects. The New Nile bridge under Uganda National Roads Authority appeared in the 1st Assurance process, the year 2017.
The assurance report which included an analysis of disclosed data against actual project performance in terms of time and cost overruns, variations and stakeholder participation revealed that the bridge did not have an embankment material protection to prevent soil erosion and heavy storms. This led to flooding from the river which, at one point, almost washed away the construction works that were in progress. Without embankment protection, there would have been flooding on the road leading onto the bridge. This was unsafe and would slow traffic.
CoST recommended that embankment materials protection was maintained to prevent soil erosion and that UNRA implements waste disposal systems. The report also revealed that the New Nile Bridge project had warning signs, site regulations and awareness messages in non-local languages, the beneficiary communities around the Nile speak Lusoga and messages were in English and Japanese. The report recommended a translation of messages into the local or any other languages understandable by users to ensure access to information.
Following the publication of the 1st assurance report, Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) established a water embankment protection on the New Nile Bridge and wastes were deposited away from the projects. UNRA also disclosed awareness messages in Kiswahili and English and provided additional educative messages through radio talk shows as well as enhanced signage on the project. UNRA also put in place officers to disclose information.
In the 2018 second Assurance process, 8 projects from three Procurement Entities were assured revealing an increase in reactive disclosure and a decrease in proactive disclosure. The assurance studied projects from Ministry of Education, Wakiso district, Ministry of Works and Transport and Makindye Sabagabo municipality.
Under Ministry of Education and Sports, The Teacher Training Education (TTE1) is among projects assured by CoST Uganda in 2018. The project was aimed at improving and expanding Teacher Training Education Centres. The second assurance process examined 4 of the teacher training education centres and identified that the structures had no time and cost overruns; but had quality management issues including low pit roofs/leakages, congested rooms, poor window designs, defects on roof sheds, defects on completed walkways and delays in procurement.
CoST recommended that the PE, and donor agency, Enabel, conduct a detailed quality monitoring of all the completed structures under the project to assess in detail the identified issues. The PE officials acted by delivering a quality monitoring visit to all the sites to further understand the issues raised in the assurance process for redress. The findings and recommendations from, the assurance report were referred to inform planning for phase two of the TTE1 project.
Wakiso district is among the largest local governments in Uganda. The district has a wide road network. The district receives an allocation of 4.4 billion Shillings annually towards the construction of roads. But according to the district Engineer Samuel Mwesigwa, the allocation is a drop in the iceberg considering the poor state of roads in the district and the number of kilometres that need to be improved and upgraded.
To enhance service delivery, the district uses the available budget to maintain the existing road network. In the year 2018, the district selected the Nansana Wamala Katooke road for maintenance and gravel. In the initial engagements, citizens were not informed of the scope of works but were encouraged to offer land without compensation, which they did. This is one of the projects the district implemented using the CoST Baraza approach to citizen engagement. The district was able to widen the road up to approximately 14 metres. CoST developed interest to conduct assurance on this project to check the levels of disclosure and stakeholder involvement.
The Assurance report revealed that the road had created substantial dust and noise pollution, delayed completion as well as property damage, without citizens being informed even when they had offered right of way at preparation. The assurance report recommended that the procuring entity should involve citizens in the road construction through awareness meetings, watering the road to reduce dust and alerting the community regarding the noise pollution as well as disseminate the project scope, start and end date. The delays and dust engulfed with the pollution ignited demonstration threats from the community.
Upon engagement, the district revealed that the road works were being delayed as they were being constructed under the Force on Account arrangement therefore, some sections were left incomplete. The report recommended that the district engages the Ministry of Finance or Ministry of Works and Transport to put in place a fund that would enable timely delivery of project works its completion without delays – this was exacerbated because citizens had offered their land without compensation and these delays were causing concerns amongst the community.
The Ministry of Works and Transport took over an upgrade of the road from gravel to bitumen by December 2018. An Environmental Impact Assessment would later be conducted to inform proper project delivery and works would later start in the Financial year 2019/20.
Namasuba – Ndejje - Kitiko Road is a major road which connects Makindye-Sagabago with the city of Kampala, and Uganda’s Entebbe Highway. This newly built, tarmac road is the first of its kind many of the residents had seen or used. However, it is also a residential area to many prominent Kampala business men and women, members of civil society and government workers. The streets are lined with schools, business, food vendors, petrol stations and homes.
This road was included in the first and second assurance processes in Uganda, in 2017 and 2018 respectively. The assurance team highlighted critical concerns about the road: sections of the project had been abandoned and drainage trenches which had been dug along it were blocking access to homes and shops. Most worrying was the fact that five deaths had been caused by speeding vehicles in the three months since the road had been paved.
The community came together at a baraza in December 2017 to raise concerns about Namasuba – Ndejje - Kitiko Road. Residents complained that the road was dangerous and requested speed bumps be built. In an April 2018 survey, one resident complained that the road had been so dangerous that families could no longer allow their children to cross the road to go to school or the shops. Following the baraza, speed bumps were erected in February 2018.
Since the speed bumps were erected there have been zero fatalities on this stretch of the road. Speaking at the launch of CoST Uganda’s third assurance process, Doreen Kyazze Mulema, who is a representative of Uganda’s Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority said: “I have always been a firm believer in CoST. This used to because I work on these issues and so I understand its value, but now I am also a beneficiary. I am from Makindye-Sagabago, the area around Kitiko Road. I was affected by these deaths. And I was there when they built these safety measures: the speed humps and the access culverts. We were so happy to see them! I cannot wait to go back to my friends, family and neighbors, and tell them that I worked with the people who delivered this.”
Sector level changes
The Roads (Amendment) Bill 2017. CoST Uganda Assurance reports recommendations have now been incorporated in the Roads (Amendment) Bill 2017 that has been approved by Cabinet, awaiting ratification by Parliament. The CoST Uganda Champion (and Minister of Works and Transport) raised issues considered in the Bill including; classification of roads, erection of bill boards, road safety, storm water drainage and provision, and increased disclosure. Acted March 2018.
Of the 4 projects studied in the 2nd Assurance project in Wakiso District, none had a risk management plan. The assurance report team raised this with the district, as a sector wide issue for all projects in the district. The district was asked to put in place risk management plans as these would identify the risks associated to the projects and propose mitigation measures. Acted when – June 2018.
The first Ugandan Assurance Report highlighted a lack of capacity within Wakiso District Council to deliver a road improvement scheme through Rufuka Swamp. The MSG then facilitated a dialogue between the District Council and the Ministry of Works and Transport that led to the Ministry reviewing and approving the road drainage designs that aimed to reduce the risk of flooding during the rainy season. The District Council also appointed a consultant engineer to manage the project and has since secured permission to use land for the drainage from all home and business owners.
A rapidly urbanizing area produces more infrastructure problems than just those affecting road maintenance. In the incredibly populas municipality of Makindye Sabagabo, a lack of sanitation and waste management led to several public health issues, with many people simply dumping waste throughout the streets.
Wild dogs were attracted to the food waste which led to injuries – and deaths – from dog bites. There were also cholera risks, and suspected outbreaks, when local flooding combined with garbage left out on the street. In addition, with no sewer line in the municipality underground water sources became contaminated by traditional pit latrines. Contamination meant local sources had to be abandoned and the community is now reliant on the more expensive national water supply.
These problems were highlighted in CoST Uganda’s second assurance process and raised in meetings with both district and municipal councils. They were formally submitted to the municipal council by CoST Uganda in the 2019 CoST assurance findings, and a baraza was held to address the issues later that year.
The municipality started to address the critical problem of waste disposal. On CoST Uganda’s recommendation, it has created a bylaw legislating how waste management systems need to function – namely, that citizens cannot simply dump waste they create. It has started to work alongside private waste disposal companies and has begun preparations for a municipal waste disposal system. Crucially, it has started to work with communities to improve waste and sanitation practices which will mean that change occurs from the bottom - up. Since the baraza, Makindye-Sagabago has been holding monthly community clean ups which have been driven by the community itself.
The role of CoST has been to support, advise and lead the way in public participation in the development of this aspect of infrastructure development. As Kato the town clerk says: ‘’CoST had a really positive impact on the community involvement in this issue. In terms of planning and evaluating projects we now know to involve communities and update them on progress as much as possible. People have committed to giving parts of their (already small) plots to widen roads so garbage trucks can access them.’’
The 2018 CoST Uganda assurance report identified that there had been no Environmental Impact Assessment on Busoga Mwiri Access Road, Jinja District by the Ministry of Works and Transport. At implementation, citizens complained that their crops and gardens were being destroyed by stormy water, drainage trenches were left open, and that the contractor had no waste depository site. There were also no safety officer and warnings on site. The Ministry of Works and Transport has since completed an Environmental Impact Assessment on the project site which was also approved by the Environmental Management Authority of Uganda; Following public consultations at a CoST Baraza which also revealed that citizens had planned to demonstrate against the loses.
In the Baraza, the Ministry, the contractor and citizens agreed to harmonize and have the losses settled, the citizens agreed to harmonize and the citizens called down their planned demonstration. From the assurance report, a 1.5Km road had been abandoned during construction of the 3.5Km because the citizens had not been engaged to release land without compensation, the assurance report recommended that the Ministry works with the local government to engage the citizens which later was done and ministry allocated funds to complete the abandoned section of the road. Ministry confirmed CoST findings resulting from lack of citizen engagement and poor design. The Ministry updated the design to include the EIA, and the aspect of citizen engagement who in turn offered land without compensation on the abandoned section. The Ministry also is recruiting a different contractor to complete the remaining section since the previous had not performed to their expectations.