Overview of transparency in the construction sector
Guatemalan legislation requires more items of project information to be disclosed than any other CoST country. Information from the project identification and preparation stages is disclosed along with the tender and contract award stage. Substantial details of the tender evaluation report are uniquely disclosed, as well as details of changes to supervision contracts are available on request. However, the procuring entities are only disclosing 40% of the information required by CoST to be disclosed.
In general, procuring entities use electronic means to register and disclose project information. In this regard, the GUATECOMPRAS system is the main source for public access to information, and the National System for Public Investment the main source for quantity and type of information but they require access codes for consultation.
In November 2010, President Colom officially launched the World Bank-supported Construction Sector Transparency Initiative (CoST) in Guatemala - the first Latin American country to benefit from the initiative. Since the launch, CoST Guatemala has successfully held two disclosures during its pilot with each disclosure examining a different set of projects. The first disclosure in July 2011 examined 6 projects including roads, sporting facilitates and river dredging projects with an average of 53% of the project information required by CoST disclosed by the procuring entities. The second disclosure in December 2011 examined 13 further projects including schools, drinking water, sporting facilities and road projects. The Assurance Team reports are available on the CoST Guatemala website.
The Assurance Team has also made a number of recommendations to improve the governance of construction projects in Guatemala including modifications to the GUATECOMPRAS website be made so that it is mandatory for all Procurement Entities to disclose project information required by the Guatemalan legal framework.
CoST Guatemala has established a small Multi-Stakeholder Group with high level representation including Deputy Ministers. The organisations represented on the MSG include:
- Secretary of Control and Transparency
- Ministry of Finance
- Ministry of Communication, Infrastructure and Housing
- The Guatemalan Chamber of Construction
- The Guatemalan Chamber of Industry
- The Faculty of Architecture at the University of San Carlos
- Citizen Action (local chapter of Transparency International)
The MSG is in the process of registering CoST Guatemala as an independent legal entity.