“CoST Uganda helped us to open our eyes to the needs of our communities, stakeholders and partners. Before CoST came to Wakiso, we were looking for avenues to best deliver on our services to the residents of Wakiso, we were making headway in a number of sectors, but the infrastructure front was a challenge, today we get land from the residents compensation free and this has gone a long way to further our working relationship,” said Luke Lokuda, the Chief Administrative Officer of Wakiso district.
He made the remarks at the CoST Secretariat this morning while receiving the award for best disclosing entity presented to him by CoST for disclosing data during the just concluded Second Assurance Process.
Speaking at the handover ceremony, Sarah Faguet, the Senior Programme officer said she was glad to have worked with Wakiso district, the first entity to have embraced the CoST core features and converted them into actionable achievements, many of which are now being replicated in other local governments in Uganda.
“We have had Malawi and Tanzania express interest in coming to learn from the successes of Wakiso district in as far as working with the CoST Initiative is concerned to best achieve in regards to assurance processes, disclosure, multi stakeholder working and social accountability,” said Olive Kabatwairwe, the CoST Uganda programme coordinator.
So far, only Wakiso district in Uganda has fully embraced CoST’s core features, with other districts including Kabale, Mbale, Arua and Gulu coming on board after the inaugural trainings on the CoST Infrastructure Monitoring Tool (IMT) and often times refer to the successes of Wakiso as the motivation behind their desire to embrace the initiative. What is remaining is to formalize CoST partnership with Wakiso district through a Memorandum of Association.
To this end, Wakiso district has commissioned a number of road projects, embarked on the expansion of existing road networks, earmarked other projects and had the allotment of money awarded to the district increase because of the emphasis the district has placed on accountability and transparency as required by the CoST principles. Wakiso also actually has works to show value for the money they receive annually.
“Initially, it was difficult to engage the citizens on road works because of the apathy they had developed over the years, but today, they are happy to donate pieces of their land for us to implement road works, the utility service providers also make way when we approach them and the citizens generally respect way leaves for the roads,” explained Lokuda.
Early this year, the Secretary to the Treasury and also Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, Keith Muhakanizi, directed all accounting officers to display costs of infrastructure projects with in their jurisdictions on information walls. At the moment, only Wakiso is implementing this directive. It was one of the recommendations pushed for by CoST – Uganda during the finalization of the first assurance report held last year.
It is a requirement for all accounting officers to remain as transparent and accountable as possible if they are active the aspirations and goals that they have for their entities.
Wakiso district was awarded together with other exceptional entities; the Ministry of Works and Transport, the Ministry of Education and Sports, the Makindye Ssabagabo Municipal Council, the Uganda National Roads Authority and Kampala Capital City Authority.
Others awarded during the same function were six (6) journalists who have championed the cause of CoST in Uganda.