Since 2011, AFIC has collaborated with PPDA in promoting value for money in public contracting through citizens’ access to information and public participation (open contracting). Through this partnership, the Uganda Contracts Monitoring Coalition (UCMC) was established, its members trained on basic procurement laws, tools for citizen monitoring of contracts developed and proposals made for policy reforms. At the beginning of 2015, AFIC and its UCMC partners with funding from the World Bank’s Global Partnership for Social Accountability (WB-GPSA) Programme commenced implementation of a four-year project to enhance accountability and performance of social service contracts, particularly in health, education and agriculture sectors in Uganda. This has been augmented by other AFIC initiatives supported by Sida, Oxfam, CoST and Open Contracting Partnership (OCP). In the political sphere, President Museveni declared in the aftermath of the 2016 Presidential Election that this current term of his presidency is “Hakuna Muchezo”, or “No jokes,” in reference to his determination to ensure government projects deliver to citizens’ expectations while at the same time addressing corruption.
From Policy to Action
In June 2016, AFIC with support from HIVOS and OCP conducted an open contracting scoping study. The major finding was that through various transparency policies and practices, Uganda had made significant progress towards increased disclosure and citizen engagement in public contracting. The proactive disclosure of procurement information through the GPP, PPDA commitment in its strategic plan to promote citizen monitoring of public contracts and Government plans to establish an e-procurement system were found to present greater opportunities for open contracting. This is consistent with Article 38 of the Constitution which guarantees the right of every citizen to participate in and influence government policies and activities.
Open Contracting Initiatives such as the Open Contracting Partnership (OCP) provide important methodologies to strengthen multi-stakeholder engagement to resolve common challenges in a constructive manner. It has developed the open contracting methodology and tools based on Open Contracting Global Principles which seek to enhance disclosure, public participation and engagement between citizens and governments in the context of public contracting.
The Open Contracting Data Standard (OCDS) developed to guide and support disclosure for participation has proved useful for both civil society and governments in different parts of the world. In Uganda, AFIC engaged several procuring entities in regard to the compliance with their disclosure obligations. Under its project GPSA, AFIC signed MoUs with district local governments in Uganda to strengthen access to public information and enable citizens to monitor public expenditures and value for money in the public services delivery. Under its project “Enhancing good governance in promoting citizens’ access to information” supported by Sida, AFIC trained public servants and CSOs on ATI to enhance the implementation of the legal framework and promote citizens demand for accountability in the health and education public services delivery.
Making the GPP OCDS complaint contributes to the Government’s objective of transparency in the management of public affairs and facilitates citizen’s demand for accountability, a key tenet of the Accountability sector strategic plan.
AFIC shares more impact Successful Advocacy for open contracting in Uganda.