April 2013

CoST Vietnam new disclosures and roll-out plan

The CoST Vietnam Bridging Phase was successfully completed at the end of 2012. During this period, that marks the transition between the pilot project and full roll-out of the programme, information was disclosed from 9 projects consisting of 11 contract packages in CPC offices, newspapers, the CoST Vietnam Website and local radio stations.

The new two stage assurance process was then applied for the first time. The first stage draws general statistics which on this occasion highlighted time overruns of between 17% and 200%. The assurance team stated that the time overruns were mainly due to delays in land acquisition, delays in approving designs and cost estimates and adverse weather conditions. Two of the eleven projects were subject to detailed examination.

A 3 year roll-out programme has recently been submitted to the Ministry of Construction for approval. Additionally, the Government of Vietnam will revise legislation on public construction to include the CoST disclosure requirements as part of CoST Vietnam's 3 year roll-out programme which is expected to commence in the 3rd quarter of 2013.

Arup endorses CoST

Arup is the latest company to endorse CoST and its aims of improving transparency and accountability in the construction sector. Dr Robert Care Chair UK-MEA Region stated: 
"Arup is involved in many communities globally and within each of these our aim is to shape a better world. As part of our commitment to these communities we affirm the importance of Construction Sector Transparency."

Arup is an independent firm of designers, planners, engineers, consultants and technical specialists offering a broad range of professional services.

Dr Care went on to emphasise that significant responsibility lies with those who have influence over the future built environment. The work of CoST goes a long way in bringing about much needed change for which Arup extends support in order to make it happen.

The full list of CoST private sector supporters can be found

CoST Tanzania Elects New MSG

CoST Tanzania held its 3rd AGM on 26th March in Dar es Salaam. In addition to the CoST members, observers from Ministries of Works and Health, USAID and TANROADS attended the event.

The Agenda for the AGM included the three year Sustainable Strategic Action Plan (SSAP 2013-2015) which had the recommendations on the future structure of CoST Tanzania, strategic objectives, activities to implement the strategic objectives and the estimated costs; the audited accounts for the Pilot Phase and the financial statement for the transition phase; and the election of the MSG, the Chairperson and the Vice-chairperson.

The Internal Auditor General from the Ministry of Finance, Mr. Mohamed Mtonga, officially opened the AGM. In his opening speech he observed that the Government of Tanzania has established an independent office of the Internal Auditor General, which is a great move to enhancing transparency and accountability in the public sector. Mr. Mtonga commended the collaboration between CoST Tanzania, the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB), the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) and the National Construction Council (NCC) in fighting corruption and he officially announced his office's application to become a member of CoST Tanzania.

Elections of the MSG were conducted during the AGM using the ‘weighted’ voting system. The permanent members in the MSG (PCCB, PPRA and NCC) representing the public sector and four members from the Civil Society sector were retained. The new MSG is as follows:

1.     From Public Sector:   NCC, PPRA and PCCB , and National Audit Office (NAO)

2.     From Civil Society: Architects Association of Tanzania (AAT), Front for Development Initiatives in Africa (ForDIA), Tanzania Civil Engineering Contractors Association (TACECA) and Tanzania Mines and Construction Allied Workers Union (TAMICO).

3.     From Private Sector: Mr. Golden Kigolla, Mr. Kazungu Magili, Eng. Seif Kassanga and Arch. Jehad Abdallah

Arch. Jehad Abdallah was elected as the new Chairperson of the MSG while Mr. Kazungu Magili was elected the Vice-chairperson.

The outgoing Chairperson Eng. Abdul Awadh thanked all who had been involved with CoST for the last five years and for showing dedication to fighting corruption through enhancing transparency.

DFID to support CoST Ethiopia

The UK Department for International Development has agreed to provide £100,000 in financial support to the CoST Ethiopia  Programme.

The funding will enable the CoST Ethiopia Multi-Stakeholder Group to increase the number of procuring entities disclosing information on to the Public Procurement & Property Administration Agency website. A new website has recently been developed as a partnership between the MSG and PPPAA.

The support was confirmed at a recent CoST Ethiopia General Assembly held in Addis Ababa. Over 70 participants from across the institutional spectrum attended the event. The participants agreed that CoST Ethiopia will be established as an independent legal entity by Government decree.

The Assembly was opened by CoST Champion HE Ali Suleiman, Commissioner of Federal Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission. Ato Bekure Ketema, CoST Interim Board Member, provided the participants with an overview of the new International Programme launched late last year.

The guests of honour, Ato. Tesfaye Ayele, World Bank Senior Procurement Specialist and Morag Baird, DFID Infrastructure Advisor, also addressed the Assembly. Both speakers commended the efforts that are being made by both CoST Ethiopia and the International Secretariat and expressed their readiness for further collaboration.

CoST in Ukraine

The CoST International Secretariat met with construction stakeholders in Kiev recently to discuss the possibility of establishing a CoST Ukraine national programme. The meetings were convened by the World Bank country office and included representatives from government, industry and civil society.

Ukraine requires significant investment in its physical infrastructure to help improve its business environment and create jobs. Improvements to power, transportation and municipal service delivery are amongst its key priorities.

Commenting on the meetings, CoST Executive Director Petter Matthews said: “The people we met expressed a strong determination to improve the efficiency of investments in infrastructure and ensure that it meets the needs of citizens. We will be holding further discussions in the coming months and hope that there will be a role for CoST in helping to meet the challenges.”

‘Joining CoST’ guidance note published

A new guidance note has been published that provides information on joining the CoST programme. It explains the purpose of a CoST national programme and describes the steps that a country typically undertakes when developing an application to join. The guidance note can be downloaded here.

Growing interest from Latin American countries

There are urgent calls from within Latin America for improved transparency and accountability throughout the region. This was the view of participants at a CoST seminar co-hosted by EUROSOCIAL and CoST in London this month.

The half day event was attended by senior delegates from three Latin American countries and included representatives from the Secretariat of Transparency, the Attorney General's Office and Business Oversight Agency of Colombia, the Attorney General's Office and Ministry of Justice of El Salvador, and the Secretariat of Transparency of Ecuador. Also in attendance was a representative from CEDDET, the public Spanish foundation that provides technical assistance to EUROSOCIAL.

EUROSOCIAL works with Latin American governments on anti-corruption policies, complaints and whistleblowing. The CoST event formed a major part of EUROSOCIAL's visitor's programme to England and Sweden.

According to Isabel Roser, Senior Advisor on CSR at F. Ceddet-Eurosocial Program (UE), CoST is a "pioneering" programme with "the capacity to be one of the greatest inspirations for fighting corruption". Eurosocial aims to work with CoST to create a strong Euro-Latin-American knowledge network to increase transparency and accountability and to fight corruption in Latin America.

EU to publish Anti-Corruption Report

The European Commission estimates that up to 120 billion euros could be lost each year to corruption in the 27 Member States of the EU. This was revealed by Cecilia Malmstrom, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, during the Second Regional Workshop on the EU Anti-Corruption Report held in Gothenburg in March.

The EU is planning to publish the first Anti-Corruption Report in June 2013 and subsequent reports will be published every two years.

CoST Executive Director Petter Matthews attended the workshop in Gothenburg. Speaking after the event he said: "Corruption is a problem that affects both high and low income countries. We have always been clear that transparency initiatives are as relevant amongst EU Member States as they are in any part of world. We welcome the Anti-Corruption Report and are ready to work with EU countries."

Capacity building support for PEs in Tanzania & Ethiopia

Procuring entities (PEs) in Ethiopia and Tanzania have recently benefited from a programme of capacity building support, aimed at helping them to disclose information as part of their CoST national programmes. Consultants worked with PE staff to gather and analyse information and assess the resources, policies and systems that will be required to mainstream information disclosure systems. Six PEs were involved in the programme representing roads, water, health and education sectors.

The programme was funded by a grant from Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). Reports on the work will be published on the CoST website shortly.

Open Contracting Partnership consults on Principles

The Open Contracting Partnership (OCP) convened a meeting in London recently to discuss its draft ‘Open Contracting Principles’. The OCP Steering Group invited a range of external participants to provide critical feedback on the Principles and consider how and when they should be launched.

The need for the Principles was identified by a broad based practitioners meeting that was held in South Africa in December 2012. They aim to build on existing norms to create a transparent, accountable, and participatory framework for contract formation, disclosure and monitoring. Robert Hunja of the World Bank Institute has written a blog about the recent OCP meeting which is available here.

The OCP Steering Group includes the World Bank Institute, GIZ, CoST, Integrity Action, Transparency International, Oxfam America and the Governments’ of Colombia and the Philippines.

Date Published: 9 December 2013
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