Local construction sector transparency scrutinised
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LAST week, the government announced an institutional review of the structure of the Construction Sector Transparency Initiative (CoST) to give it mandate and legal authority to implement its activities efficiently.

CoST is a global multisector stakeholder initiative whose main objective is to promote data disclosure on infrastructure projects in order to increase transparency and accountability. Tanzania adopted the scheme since its inception in 2007.

However, the initiative, under the National Construction Council (NCC) had been inactive due to lack of legal framework, according to the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Works, Communication and Transport, Eng Joseph Nyamhanga.

After institutional structure review, CoST will facilitate procuring entities to disclose information as required by legislation also using CoST developed disclosure standard (Infrastructure Data Standard -IDS).

This will help to curb shoddy works which have forced various authorities to incur losses of billions of shillings. The CoST will enable the authorities to publish disclosed information to the wider public for decision makers to be accountable.

“The main goal is to achieve better value for money and better quality infrastructure, thus increasing the quality of life for all citizens,” Eng Nyamhanga told a CoST Institutionalization Conference organized by NCC). CoST Manager, Clement Mworia, said construction was perceived to be one of the most corrupt sectors in the world with 10-30 per cent being wasted through corruption and mismanagement.

He said transparency of project information will improve accountability. “It’s estimated that by 2030 Global adoption of CoST will have the potential to save about US dollars 5 trillions annually through savings and reduced corruption,” he said.

CoST activities are helping procuring entities to disclose information as required by legislation as well as using CoST developed disclosure standard known as Infrastructure Data Standard (IDS).

The scheme will also facilitate publishing disclosed information to the wider public for decision makers to be accountable. The scheme will also help stakeholders to use disclosed information to hold authorities accountable and collecting information from the sector.

In October, the Roads Fund Board suspended funding to all road projects by Kinondoni municipality over mismanagement of 3.3bn/- for the 2.4 kilometre Masjid Quba road at Sinza Mori area.

The project, which had to be commissioned after three months, has only 28 per cent of the work completed, consuming 200m/-. Road Fund Chairman, Joseph Haule, said that the Skol contractors who were undertaking the project had built only 700 metres of tarmac road.

“We call upon the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Regional Administration and Local Government to take action against officials involved in the scandalous road project,” he said. “The contractors have been overpaid contrary to the tender.

The payments have been made without work evaluation,” Haule explained. He charged that the Kinondoni Municipality relocated 354m/- earlier allocated for repair of potholes, noting that the fund should be returned to the bank account of the Roads Fund Board.

The Board, according to Haule, also discovered that the Kinondoni Municipality had a tendency of using funds not under the Performance Agreement endorsed by Local Government Authority and Roads Fund Board. He directed all local government authorities to ensure good management of public funds while implementing projects to reflect the value for money.

Corruption is now at the centre of the national agenda in all public debates and activities including the media, parliament and other elected bodies, professional, academic, social, political and religious gatherings. Other transparency initiatives include the National Anti-Corruption Strategy and Action Plan (NACSAP I of 2000 and NACSAP II of 2010) by the Prevention and Combating Corruption Bureau (PCCB) with various studies.

To ensure the independency of its approach, CoST Tanzania will require procuring entities (PEs) to disclose information to the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) on a project to project basis.

PPRA serves as a central public procurement authority and its new Regulation No. 10 (3) of 2013 requires that all PEs submits project information in a set format, which has been set by a template. To ensure that information required by CoST is incorporated into the template, its design is currently being discussed.

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