CoST: Not a 'witch hunt' but a benefit to contractors and consultants
Joe Ching’ani Chairman of the CoST Malawi Multi-Stakeholder Group writes about the potential benefits of CoST for contractors and consultants and why it is not a 'witch hunt'.
As President of the Malawi Building Contractors Association and Allied Trades Association and a director of a contracting firm for almost 20 years, I believe that contractors and consultants should be very passionate about CoST as a successful country programme will result in public confidence in the local construction industry.
For all players, particularly contractors it is an initiative with noble intentions. Thus, the private sector should play an active role as members of national Multi-Stakeholder Groups.
Matters of lack of openness and corruption impinge on development. Corruption leads to defective and dangerous infrastructure which impacts heavily on the poor. We in the construction industry passionately support CoST as it is an initiative that will discourage underhand dealings in construction such as sourcing or obtaining contracts over a drink at a Golf Club or any unorthodox ways.
CoST will make people/officers account for decisions taken in construction projects as the information disclosed will reduce and potentially eliminate suspicion. It will ensure that the public obtain construction services at the right cost.
The advocacy for awareness enhanced by CoST will promote efforts to address unanswered questions, as well as clarifying ambiguities and uncertainties. Thus the public and stakeholders will also have plausible explanation on why or what led to substantive departure/difference from original plan/budget. The people deserve this information.
The Initiative is and incentive for the business as it promotes fair competition and it will instil and promote professional integrity, ethics and standards in construction. To me as a player (Contractor) it will instil confidence and trust that the playing field is levelled.
CoST is not about 'witch hunting'. It is about information disclosure. Not proprietary information, but information of substance that will enable one to understand easily the status of a construction project. People should get this clear. It is not about 'witch hunting'. But even if it was and you are not a witch, why worry!!!!
We hope and pray that that authorities and stakeholders in many countries will welcome, embrace and support CoST as one way of walking the talk in good governance.