In September CoST Ukraine presented its experience in promoting efficient road sector management at an anti-corruption and integrity meeting of the World Road Association (PIARC). The meeting was hosted by PIARC’s Technical Committee on the Performance of Transport Administration in Denmark and Sweden and convened committee members, key anti-corruption stakeholders and other major transport organisations including the South Europe Transport Observation (SEETO) to share their ideas and experiences.
In the presentation CoST Ukraine Country Manager, Ms Natalie Forsyuk emphasised the vulnerability of Ukraine’s road sector to mismanagement and corruption. Using examples of two major road projects in Ukraine which amounted to almost €120 million, she stressed the serious lack of access to data found by CoST Ukraine on these projects. For example, as part of the CoST Ukraine assurance process they found restricted access on 55% and 35% of the data disclosed for both projects.
Furthermore, Ms Forsyuk explained that a lack of transparency has huge implications on the broader plans of Ukraine’s budget for road projects. In 2016 the state budget for road projects totalled around €170 billion, but despite its magnitude major pitfalls were brought into the public domain concerning project procurement and management. For example, 35% of 120 tenders analysed by CoST Ukraine had just two bidders. And approximately half of the 120 tenders were awarded to five contractors – meaning that only these five contractors were granted contracts totalling a massive €59,888 billion.
These and other major issues had been highlighted in CoST Ukraine’s 2016 Assurance Report, including long time periods between project design approval and construction, insufficient detail in project design, VAT payment delays and problems around the independence of quality assurance.
“Considering the large sums Ukraine allocates to its roads, addressing transparency in road sector management and procurement is vital to ensure public funds are allocated appropriately,” said Ms Forsyuk. She continued, “Through the CoST approach and by developing innovations like Ukraine’s online procurement platform, Prozorro, which allows everyone to see everything in bidding, we can fight against corruption, promote citizenship engagement and ensure decision makers are held to account.”
CoST Ukraine joins PIRAC’s Technical Committee
Following her presentation Ms Forsyuk was asked to join the Committee. To the Committee, which comprises representatives from authorities and state institutions, Ms Forsyuk brings a unique representation of a non-governmental organisation and, furthermore, one which has a multi-stakeholder approach uniting government, industry and civil society.
Since joining the Committee, Ms Forsyuk has already had a positive impact. Together with Ukraine’s Minister of Infrastructure, she has enhanced cooperation between PIARC and the state agency of auto-roads, Ukravtodor. Previously, Ukravtodor had not been fully engaged with PIARC, despite being a member of the Committee. The Ministry of Infrastructure and Ukravtodor are now preparing to host the next committee meeting which is to be held in Kiev in Autumn. This meeting will focus on good tendering practices and fighting corruption and will once again bring together members and other key anti-corruption stakeholders.
Click here to download the presentation.
Click to read more about the World Road Association.
Click to download the Assurance Report Summary, the CoST Ukraine Assurance Report Presentation or the Assurance Report (in Ukrainian).
Click here to watch the CoST Ukraine animated video.