February 2012

CoST Ethiopia Delivers Savings of $2.35m on Road Project

The disclosure of Project Information and an Assurance Team Report on a 33km rural road between Gindebir to Gobensa in Southern Ethiopia, has led to an estimated cost saving of 40m birr or $2.35m. The Assurance Team highlighted that the cost estimate at the design stage was 26m birr per km, whilst the feasibility study had made a cost estimate of 7m birr. At contract award the price had been reduced to 23m birr, but it was still set to be the most expensive road in Ethiopian history.

The disclosure of the report sparked considerable interest in the project amongst the media and led to the Ethiopian Roads Authority and the Supervising Engineer accepting a recommendation from the Assurance Team that an alternative design be developed for the 2.5km stretch of the road. The estimated cost saving of 40m birr is the equivalent of a new hospital in an urban area.


Guatemala Completes Second Disclosure Event

CoST Guatemala recently held its second disclosure event in the presence of high-level government officials, including the Vice President of Guatemala and representatives from the diplomatic corps, distinguished members of civil society and media representatives.

The Assurance Team had analysed thirteen randomly selected projects including bridges, portable water and healthcare facility from 6 different Procuring Entities. The event highlighted various recommendations from the second assurance process including NGOs not be contracted to execute construction projects, that minimum standards be implemented for contracting in emergencies (natural disasters), and that procuring entities should ensure adequate budget space before contracting projects to avoid unnecessary delays in construction. The intervention of CoST Guatemala’s has also increased the average level of proactive disclosure of project information from 25% in the baseline study to 65% in the thirteen projects.

Copies of the Report Cards are available online in 
Spanish and English.


CoST Recognised in UK National Infrastructure Plan

The UK MSG has been successful in persuading its Government to include CoST in the UK National Infrastructure Plan. The Plan states that the Government: “will implement the use of a standardised template as a means of tracking vital infrastructure project cost and performance data based on the international pilots undertaken by the Construction Sector Transparency Initiative.”

This has led the UK MSG working with Infrastructure UK who leads on UK Government Infrastructure Policy and the Highways Agency on testing the new list of Project and Contract Information (what was previously referred to as MPI) on three projects. It is also anticipated that the London 2012 Olympic Delivery Authority will complete the list on almost $10bn of sporting, residential, transport, spectator and media facilities.

Matthew Parker is the new Coordinator for CoST UK. Matthew is the Best Practice Executive at the Institution of Civil Engineers where his role is to coordinate the development of civil engineering best practice knowledge.


CoST Influences Procurement Regulations in Malawi and Tanzania

The Tanzanian and Malawian MSGs are in the process of consulting with their respective Public Procurement Authorities on incorporating the information required by CoST to be disclosed into their Public Procurement Regulations. The baseline studies had shown that public procurement Legislation rarely asks for disclosure of information during contract implementation.

The Malawian MSG has been assured by the Office of the Director of Public Procurement that appropriate amendments will be made to the its Public Procurement Act which is in the process of being reviewed. The MSG is currently pursuing this assurance.

In Tanzania the regulations governing the implementation of their Public Procurement Act are also under review. The MSG has sent the current list of Project and Contract Information to the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority for possible inclusion in the regulations.


New Disclosures in the Philippines

The Philippines will be shortly disclosing new MPI’s on the Philippines Government Electronic Procurement System from three highway projects. This was funded by a 6 month grant from the World Bank Country Office in Manila.


Fundraising & Outreach

Meetings have been held with a number of bilateral donors in the recent weeks and more are planned. We remain optimistic about the potential to bring additional resources into CoST and hope to be in a position to report some successes with you soon.


New Funding for CoST Countries

The Guatemalan Government has underpinned its commitment to CoST by agreeing to provide $120,000 to fund the Multi-Stakeholder Groups activities for the next twelve months. Their commitment to CoST is reflected with Deputy Ministers representing Government on the Multi-Stakeholder Group.

CoST Tanzania has recently received approval of £50,000 from DFID Tanzania office for the next six months. CoST Vietnam shortly expects to receive approval from the Prime Minister of Vietnam for funding of £100,000 from the DFID Vietnam Office for the next twelve months.

Short-term funding from the International Secretariat has now been disbursed to Zambia, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Malawi and Tanzania. News on applications for limited funding from the International Secretariat for the remainder of 2012 will be issued soon.


Changing Roles in the International Secretariat

With Engineers Against Poverty now leading the IS, there have been some changes in roles and responsibilities amongst members. Petter Matthews is the Executive Director with overall responsibility of managing the CoST Programme. Zlatina Loudjeva remains a Member of the IS as Strategy and Funding Adviser.

John Hawkins recently joined Engineers Against Poverty from the Institution of Civil Engineers as Programme Manager. John is responsible for day to day operations for the CoST Programme and is the principle contact for Country Coordinators and the Multi-Stakeholder Groups. Tendai Nyoka is the Finance & Administration Officer with responsibility for disbursing funds to countries and managing the CoST accounts.

As Senior Policy Advisors, Bill Patterson and Jill Wells provide the intellect behind the development of the Global Programme. Graham Hand and Claire Schouten remain as Senior Industry Adviser and Civil Society Adviser respectively.

Date Published: 9 December 2013
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