CoST Guatemala establishes Formal Disclosure Requirement
The Republic of Guatemala has introduced legislation requiring the mandatory disclosure of all CoST information items by public infrastructure procuring entities, effective from 3rd January 2014. This was achieved when the Regulations of the Organic Law of the National Budget were passed on the 30th December 2013.
The information will be disclosed on the Ministry of Finance website as well as the websites of each public procuring entity. Disclosure must be made in a format that is compatible with the Integrated Accounting System (SICOIN) and other relevant government information platforms.
Guatemala is the first CoST country to introduce such a requirement across the entire public sector. The breakthrough is largely due to the efforts of Her Excellency Vice President of the Republic and CoST Guatemala Champion.
An event to publicise the new regulatory requirements mandating disclosure of CoST information items will be held at the National Palace of Culture on the 10th March 2014. The Vice President of Guatemala and the President of the Multi-Sector Group will open the event and the CoST Coordination and Assurance Team will deliver a presentation on the ‘CoST Indicators in Current Legislation’. The event will be attended by the executive units of 75 central government entities that deliver and manage public infrastructure projects, 22 Departmental Governors and 336 Guatemalan mayors.
Christiaan Poortman, Chair of the CoST Board said: “This is a tremendous breakthrough. The new legislation will help institutionalise transparency and accountability across Government. We extend our congratulations to all our colleagues in Guatemala who have contributed to this achievement.”
CoST Malawi at National Anti-Corruption Day
President Joyce BandaCoST Malawi has been catapulted to the forefront of public attention following a presentation at this year’s National Anti-Corruption Day. The theme of the event was ‘Break the Silence: Stop Corruption’ and included a specific focus on infrastructure. The event demonstrated the crippling effects of corruption on infrastructure projects and service delivery and the effects on citizens.
Guest of honour at the event, Malawi State President Dr, Joyce Banda called on Malawians to ‘Break the silence and stop corruption’.
In supporting this message, MSG Chair Joe Chingani said, “as a player in the industry, I cannot brush aside the perception of corruption in the construction industry. CoST Malawi is tackling this problem by ensuring basic information on public construction projects is disclosed to the public. This will allow the public to interact with procuring entities and seek clarification”.
CoST Malawi was one of the only 2 institutions invited to make a presentation at the event. This has helped the program to secure media coverage increased recognition of its efforts.
The CoST Malawi Multi-Stakeholder Group has recently appointed an Assurance Team that will be examining over 40 construction projects and highlighting issues that may be of concern to the public.
CoST launches funding consultation
A consultation exercise has been launched to explore donor attitudes towards CoST.
Since its launch in 2012, CoST has grown to twelve countries with several others expressing an interest in joining. However, despite declarations of support from the G20, G8 and many multilateral and bilateral donors, most have not backed-up their words with financial commitments
The funding challenge was highlighted last year by the Guardian when it reported that “CoST's only source of income is a grant of $1.5m from the World Bank over three years, ending in December 2014. Some of CoST's national programmes have found separate funding, but this is limited.”
Despite a call from industry leaders for the G20 to support the programme, the financial position of CoST continues to be a significant challenge.
CoST Executive Director Petter Matthews said: “there appears to be a disparity between the demand from new countries wishing to join CoST on the one hand, and the willingness of donors to invest the resources that are needed to meet that demand on the other. The consultation will explore the reasons for this and the results will be used to refine our fundraising strategy”.
The CoST International Secretariat will shortly be inviting selected stakeholders to assist with the consultation. Please contact the International Secretariat if you would like to take part.
New collaboration on disclosure in PPPs
CoST is collaborating with The World Bank and other partners to produce a guide to support the disclosure of information in Public Private Partnerships. The work will be led by the Public Private Partnerships Practice of the World Bank Institute. A more detailed announcement will be made soon.
Ensuring efficiency in infrastructure investment
In our latest blog CoST Chairman Chrik Poortman welcomes the G20’s emphasis on infrastructure, but warns that investments must be made more efficient.