By PATRICK JARAMOGI
KAMPALA, Uganda [SHIFTMEDIA NEWS] Uganda is once again the limelight after being honored globally for its transparency and accountability efforts.
Carrying Uganda’s flag high, is CoST Uganda that has been awarded the Outstanding Achievement Collective Action Award 2023.
Uganda was selected among the best from Sub Saharan Africa by the panel of judges at the Basel Institute of Good Governance. Uganda was first shortlisted before it was voted by scores of voters globally.
The award was received by Eng. Joe Chingani, the Multi-Stakeholder Group Chairperson for CoST Malawi, on behalf of CoST Uganda, signifying that CoST International is a unified Family of Infrastructure Transparency Advocates.
“We are deeply indebted to all stakeholders, the Government of Uganda, our Champion Ministry of Works and Transport, all Procurement Entities, the private sector, media and civil society, and the people of Uganda for having provided us an enabling environment to implement the CoST approach and addressing our recommendations. Your multi-stakeholder efforts, have brought us this far, congratulations,” said Gilbert Sendugwa the Senior Regional Manager Africa.
Sendugwa noted that the Award is not just for CoST Uganda but for the government, private sector and civil society partners that have worked together to increase disclosure, undertake assurance processes to give meaning to disclosed data, and more importantly government’s commitment to implement recommended reforms.
“This Awards inspires us to continue on this path,” said Sendugwa, also the Executive Director, Africa Freedom of Information Center.
He said the award confirms the value of Infrastructure Transparency in the delivery of public infrastructure projects in Uganda and beyond. “It speaks to our outstanding performance in enhancing transparency and accountability in the public infrastructure sector through promotion of disclosure of infrastructure data, periodic, independent review of disclosed data, technical assistance and broad consultative cooperation with key stakeholders in government, private sector and local communities.
CoST Uganda through the FCDO’s Business Integrity Initiative (BII) and support from CoST International Secretariat has since 2020 promoted integrity and fairness in infrastructure procurement using the multi-stakeholder approach in Uganda.
Olive Kabatwairwe, the Africa Regional Manager and Coordinator CoST Uganda said: “It is an infinite honour to win this Award which reveals the growing need for Infrastructure Transparency in Uganda and beyond. It is indeed a great pleasure to the people of Uganda, our stakeholders and the global CoST Family to celebrate this success while we are challenged to do more”.
she said that an Africa without Infrastructure Transparency means poorly constructed public projects at the expense of citizens. pointing further: “It is pertinent that Governments, Private sector and civil society jointly work together through the CoST approach of Disclosure, Assurance, Multi-stakeholder working and social accountability to remove all impediments that affect delivery of quality infrastructure, stronger economies and better lives.”
Kabatwairwe said hat through the Business Integrity Initiative, and learning from experiences of our Assurance Processes, and various researches, CoST Uganda has progressively turned this situation around specifically through; promoting better data disclosure through the Open Contracting for Infrastructure Data Standard (IDS) which has been integrated into the Government Procurement Portal (GPP) and enabling disclosure across projects in Uganda; increasing competition in doing business with government agencies; and, strengthening transparency in procurement processes for infrastructure projects.
she observed that CoST Uganda’s approach has been appreciated and adopted across the various entities, such as the introduction of the citizens Barazas by government across all infrastructure projects as an accountability and information sharing platform.
In November 2023, CoST Uganda won the first CoST International Global award as the best performing Member programme implementing the CoST approach that has documented results at various levels in a nearly few years of implementation.