KAMPALA, December 10, 2014 – The World Bank Country Manager for Uganda, Mr. Moustapha Ndiaye and the Civil Society Organization Coordinator & Head of Secretariat Africa Freedom of Information Centre, Mr. Gilbert Sendugwa, today signed a Global Partnership Social Accountability (GPSA) Grant of $650,000 to enhance transparency and accountability of public contracting in the agriculture, education and health sectors.
The four-year project aims at transforming the quality of service delivery in health, education and agriculture by increasing agricultural productivity and building a healthy and educated labour force in the three sectors of agriculture, education and health. It is expected that the project will benefit up to 2.5 million people living in the districts of Lira, Oyam, Arua, Kabale and Ntungamo by building the capacity of the communities to monitor government funded programmes and services in order to improve service delivery in public contracting.
Whereas corruption influences procurement according to 69.8 percent of service providers who participated in a recent Integrity Survey by the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Authority (PPDA), the Inspectorate of Government (IG) also reports that corruption in public contracting and procurement amounts to 9.4 percent of the total value of contracts, equivalent to UGD 56.4 billion in 2012.
“It is important for us all to recognize that corruption has the potential to undermine the good progress that Uganda has made on poverty reduction and economic growth over the past 20+ years. If left unchecked, corruption will remain a major obstacle to achieving the goals of the National Development Plan and Vision 2040,” said Ndiaye. “The project seeks to close the huge implementation gaps in service delivery, manifested through economic mismanagement, procurement fraud, collusion, embezzlement, fraud and forgery causing major financial losses to Government.”
The main policy intervention areas for the project will include: i) Improving public access to information and participation in contracting processes and collaborative engagement between government and civil society in agriculture, education and health in targeted districts; ii) Improving informed decision making by Governments regarding monitored contracts and services in agriculture, education and health; iii) Strengthening the capacity of citizens and civil society to collectively and effectively demand accountability and value for money in public contracting.
It is expected that by end of the four years of implementation, there will be increased volume and quality of contracting information disclosed by districts and central government agencies; increased number of CSOs/community organizations participating in the contracting system; increased number of recommendations/corrective measures implemented to improve contracting procedures and performance and an increase in the number of CSO leaders trained in social accountability and Open Contracting. Project lessons will be shared across AFIC’s membership of 35 organisations in 22 African countries as well as a wider community through GPSA knowledge and learning portal and Open Contracting Community of Practice.
“This partnership with the World Bank is a clear indication that the WBG appreciates and values the important role played by civil society in strengthening public sector accountability and transparency through increased support for good governance,” said Sendugwa. “By engaging with civil society, the development outcomes of public investments can be improved and governments can leverage the technical expertise and institutional support of CSOs.”
The project will directly benefit the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority (PPDA), the Ministry of Education and Sports (MoES), the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF), the Ministry of Health (MoH), the National Agricultural Advisory Services Secretariat (NAADS) and the Ministry of Local Government and the respective local governments of five targeted districts where the project will be implemented. Other government agencies that will benefit are the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (MoFPED), the National Agricultural Research Organisation, and the Directorate for Ethics and Integrity (DEI).
On October 16, 2013 the Ministry of Finance of Uganda signed the consent letter opting-in to the World Bank’s Global Partnership for Social Accountability, which enabled Ugandan CSOs to apply for GPSA support. More than 428 organizations participated in the GPSA’s 2014 Call for Proposals, from which AFIC’s proposal was selected by the GPSA Steering Committee.
The GPSA supports public sector, civil society and private sector to work together to solve critical governance challenges in developing countries. To this end, the program provides strategic and sustained support to CSOs’ social accountability initiatives aimed at strengthening transparency and accountability. It builds on the World Bank’s direct and ongoing engagement with public sector actors, as well as a network of Global Partner organizations, to create an enabling environment in which citizen feedback is used to solve fundamental problems in service delivery and to strengthen the performance public institutions. Through a country-tailored approach the GPSA works to “close the loop” by supporting citizens to have a more articulated voice, helping governments to listen, and assisting government agencies act upon the feedback they receive.