The assurance reports released today by CoST Ethiopia indicate an encouraging level of cooperation from procuring entities: on average 58% of the data required by the CoST Infrastructure Data Standard (CoST IDS) has been reactively disclosed (disclosed on request). Although this cooperation is a sign that procuring entities are committed to open data, the reports highlights missing data gaps in the bidding and procurement process across all of the projects included in the report.
Eight projects have been focussed on in the reports and include administrative buildings, transport projects and one sports facility. Together, these projects have a combined value of more than US$ 170 million.
In addition to a lack of transparency at the tender stage, a common issue was found in the project preparation stage across all projects. This included inaccurate project design, the omission of relevant construction activities from the project budget and a lack of feasibility studies. Ultimately, these issues led to numerous contract additions and variations during the project’s implementation. Time overruns were a common theme across all projects assessed and for one project – the construction of a conference support facility for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs – they reached 600%.
How can the key issues be addressed?
Among its recommendations, the reports encourages procuring entities to build capacity to manage and maintain project documentation, and in a way which complies with the requirements of Ethiopia’s procurement laws. To address the recurrent issues of inaccurate project preparation, procuring entities are encouraged to focus on improving project planning capacity in order to reduce cost and time overruns.
CoST Ethiopia will continue to support procuring entities as they work to improve disclosure rates in accordance with the CoST IDS, including by increasing proactive disclosure (disclosure made without official request) on online data portals. Doing so will ensure that information from across key stages of the infrastructure cycle will be made more readily available for public scrutiny, increasing transparency, efficiency and accountability in Ethiopia.