The CoST effect? CoST Uganda Second Assurance Report shows marked improvement in disclosure rates

The CoST effect? CoST Uganda Second Assurance Report shows marked improvement in disclosure rates

Today the 16th November 2018, CoST Uganda published its Second Assurance Report which shows rates of disclosure have increased by 29%. The report outlines that procuring entities subjected to the assurance process disclosed 62% of the CoST Infrastructure Data Standard which requires 40 data points (or items) to be published during key stages of the project cycle.

The report looked at projects overseen by the Ministry of Education and Sports, the Ministry of Works and Transport and Wakiso District Local Government. Eight projects, including roads, buildings and bunkers for radioactive research, among others, were included in total equating toUS$122,865,083.  More specifically, the report also noted much higher rates of proactive disclosure with 74.4% disclosed on a reactive basis and 54.4%on a reactive basis.

Participants (citizens) at the Community Baraza, a Reverend sister expressing her concern on the need to integrate infrastructure transparency lessons in the medical school.

“The idea of sampling government projects for assurance is aimed at identifying good practice and issues of concern to engage stakeholders and so that for the longer term,infrastructure projects are better planned and better delivered,” said Hon. Nathan Byanyima, Chairperson of the CoST– Uganda Multi stakeholder Group. He continued, “CoST Uganda recommends that government embrace CoST core features within its legal framework to ensure the longevity of infrastructure transparency and that the key findings of the report are noted by procuring entities to further improve the sector.”

1st Assurance Report on Lukaya Market structure under Ministry of Works and Transport Nov 2018

This assurance process also indicated that there are increasing numbers of procuring entities embracing the CoST approach, disclosing more and being more open to citizens demanding information of them. The same is also true with the number of citizens demanding information held by the public procuring entities, for instance, last year, five projects were assured and this year eight went through the assurance process.

Whilst there is much to be celebrated in the Second Assurance Report there are also a number of areas of concern including:

  • Understaffing in procuring entities,
  • limited use and appreciation of disclosure platforms such as websites and social media platforms, as well as project sites,
  • delayed remittance of funds from the central government to Ministries, Agencies and Departments,
  • cost and time overruns, limited and in some cases no stakeholder participation in the entire value chain of the projects,
  • lack of project technical evaluation and audits,
  • limited capacity of project staff in project management; and
  • lack of adequate safety and health measures on project sites and where they are available there are no stringent measures to enforce use of these provisions by workers.

The Second Assurance process was commissioned in March 2018 after a disclosure and assurance workshop held by CoST in December 2017 and the assurance process is conducted by a team of experts called the Assurance Professionals, these are trained by the CoST International Secretariat.

 

Left, are journalists in a press conference after the launch of the 2nd Assurance Report, and Right; the Minister’s representative and Under Secretary, Ministry of Works and Transport receives an award of recognition to Ministry of Works and Transport for embracing CoST and participating in the 2nd Assurance Process.

What CoST Uganda recommends?

To address these issues the Second Assurance Report makes the following recommendations that the government:

  • through the PPDA disclose recognised and blacklisted bidders and their previous experience,
  • enact stringent/punitive measures to have PEs proactively disclose infrastructure data;
  • set up schedule and cost control tools to prevent overwhelming time and cost overruns by the contractors on projects;
  • work with CoST to develop an online disclosure framework and strengthen physical platforms such as Barazas to focus on projects and popularize government projects, preferably using the CoST Infrastructure Data Standard;

Journalists and PEs after the awards, CoST recognizes everyone who takes a stride in enhancing transparency

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