It was agreed upon that it is vital for procurement entities to disclose information on public projects at every stage as a way of building public trust and participation in such projects.
Eng Badru Kiggundu, Hon Reagan Okumu and Eric Makumbi, director for ethics and integrity sharing with participants the value of disclosure. Photo by Ronald Mugabe
Government and other procurement entities have been urged to be more transparent in execution of work on public infrastructure projects.
This was during a procurement entities training workshop organised by Construction Sector Transparency Initiative (CoST) Uganda chapter held at Imperial Royale Hotel Wednesday, April 25.
CoST, an infrastructure transparency initiative is aimed at improving citizen's lives through promoting the use of the Infrastructure Data Standard (IDS) for information disclosure, assurance, multi-stakeholder working and social accountability.
While speaking at the workshop, Sarah Faguet, the programme officer at Africa freedom of information centre enlightened the officials present on the IDS to get them up to speed on how to disclose data on various infrastructure projects.
"This is an international standard drawn by CoST International in the UK to guide data disclosure on public infrastructure projects. This initiative has been widely implemented in Ethiopia and it is one of the major reasons their infrastructure sector has grown; offering citizens value for money," she stated.
Also speaking during the panel discussion at the workshop, Eng. Dr. Badru Kigundu, the Senior Presidential Advisor, State House Infrastructure Monitoring Unit pointed out that the CoST initiative on disclosure on public infrastructure projects is a very good one but there is need to be careful in sharing information.
"Information about a particular project cannot be shared just like that. It has to be carefully packaged. What you share with local leaders cannot be the same you share with engineers. For example, if you were preparing the information for government leaders like Cabinet, you would have to put it is a language that suits them," he expressed.
He also added that information sharing to individuals is a very costly process. He however acknowledged that information disclosure on projects is something very important to do.
Hon. Reagan Okumu, the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairperson in his submission welcomed the idea of information sharing and emphasized that is it a good way to provide accountability.
He however also noted that chairperson in his submission welcomed the idea of information sharing and emphasized that is it a good way to provide accountability.
He however noted that a lot of measures must be taken before information is disclosed. "Information cannot be just put out there for everybody. It must first be purified and given like a dose of medicine. Giving away too much can also be detrimental," he said.
He implored CoST to work together with PAC to help in data governance. He also advise that it is important to sensitize Ugandans on how to receive such information and use it right since there are some bad elements that will always try to distort such information.
It was however agreed upon that it is vital for procurement entities to disclose information on public projects at every stage as a way of building public trust and participation in such projects.
"Trust is a very key ingredient in a working environment. Disclosure of information without a doubt helps the public appreciate public projects more," Eric Makubi, the assistant director ethics and integrity, Office of the President emphasized.