Overview of transparency in the construction sector
Zambia's GDP is around $11 billion with construction industry activity contributes around 7.5% of that total in real terms. Transparency requirements are limited to meeting the Public Procurement Act 2008 requirements to disclose information on the tender process and contract award. However, procuring entities often do not understand the current legal requirements for the disclosure of project information. As a result they fail to meet the legal requirements.
Three procuring entities participated in the pilot phase: Ministry of Education (MoE), Buildings Departments (BD), and Road Development Agency (RDA). The Zambian Roads Agency was particularly keen to participate as it sought to improve its reputation following a critical report by the Zambian Auditor General that alleged the misappropriation of $250m.
The assurance process highlighted issues for concern through the project cycle, particularly the absence of budgets, the tender evaluation process and contract implementation where payment issues occurred on 11 projects. It also highlighted considerable cost overruns such as 41% cost increase due to a change in cladding on the construction of offices for Department of Buildings. The legal limit for a cost increase is 25%.
The Zambian MSG organised pre-disclosure roadshows in Lusaka, Livingstone and Moshi which aimed to inform stakeholders of the CoST projects in their area. A well-attended disclosure launch event was then held where the 17 Assurance Team Reports were published.
The Zambian MSG is now looking to scale-up disclosure of project information from publicly funded construction projects with each procuring entities who participated in the pilot and with two new procuring entities. It is also looking to follow-up on the success of pre-disclosure roadshows held during the pilot with further roadshows across Zambia.
CoST Zambia is directed by an MSG that comprises representatives from Ministry of Works and Supply, Anti-Corruption Commission, Office of the Auditor General, Zambia Bureau of Standards, National Council for Construction, Zambia Institute of Architects, Association for Building and Civil Engineering Contractors, Law Association of Zambia, Civil Society for Poverty Reduction and Transparency International Zambia and the Zambia Public Procurement Authority. Transparency International Zambia holds the Chairmanship of the MSG and the National Council for Construction provides the Secretariat support.
Date Published: July 12, 2012