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Business News of Friday, 27 November 2020

Source: GNA

CoST brings transparency, accountability into procurement

Investments made in infrastructure were lost, due to mismanagement Investments made in infrastructure were lost, due to mismanagement

The Sekondi/Takoradi Chapter of the Infrastructure Transparency Initiative (CoST) has commissioned a scoping study to appreciate the current levels of transparency and accountability in Ghana’s infrastructure procurement.

The Scoping study also identifies how transparency and accountability trends within the current systems for delivering and procuring infrastructure needs and how to improve on it at the national and sub-national levels.

Mr Isaac Aidoo, Sekondi/Takoradi Municipal Assembly CoST Manager, speaking at a validation meeting said the study was also to identify attitudes towards transparency and accountability in general.

He said it was to establish a baseline measure of ‘transparency’ in publicly funded infrastructure project at a national and sub-national level.

“It is to explain how CoST approach to transparency and accountability and its core features of the disclosure, assurance, multi-stakeholder working and social accountability can add value to the current systems for delivery and procuring infrastructure at the national and sub-national levels,” he said.

He informed CoST approach seeks to reduce mismanagement, inefficiency and corruption in public infrastructure delivery.

He said: “CoST achieves this via four core features namely; Disclosure, Assurance, Multi-stakeholder Group, and Social Accountability.”

He said the net effects of these four features was less suspicion, less susceptibility to corruption, less inefficiency and greater returns in infrastructure procurement for procuring entities and the project beneficiary communities.

Mr Aidoo said a research conducted by CoST in 2018, revealed that an estimated 10 to 30 per cent of the investments made in infrastructure were lost, due to mismanagement, inefficiency and corruption.

He said CoST works with government, private sector and civil society to promote the disclosure, validation and interpretation of data from infrastructure projects.

“This helps to inform and empower citizens and enables them to hold decision-makers to account,” he said.

Mr Bright Sowu, Head of Programmes, Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition, said the idea was to disclose a lot of procurement data to enable citizens and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) hold duty bearers accountable.

He said there has been a lot of procurement scandals over the years in the country and “we want to prevent that from happening again.”

He called for the need to build technical capacity of CSOs and citizens to understand technical procurement data for enhanced watchdog role.

He said they could also leverage the Right to Information Law to increase disclosure from the Reactive Disclosure List and partner with existing CSOs and Public institutions working in the procurement sector to increase monitoring to all phases of procurement.