President Lazarus Chakwera has been appointed Malawi’s champion for Construction Sector Transparency (CoST), an initiative that promotes transparency and accountability in public infrastructure projects.
In a statement issued by CoST secretariat yesterday, the appointment of Chakwera makes Malawi the first-ever CoST member to have a President take up such a role.
“It also demonstrates the President’s fulfillment of his pledge for a new dawn in government transparency and accountability and his high values of servant leadership,” reads the statement in part.
CoST is a new globally-acclaimed initiative that seeks to ensure greater transparency and accountability in giving value for public money in projects, including the construction of roads, bridges, schools and markets.
A CoST champion is a person of good standing in society with enough political power and oversight to block or take to task those found flouting tender and other accountability procedures.
The statement quotes Chakwera as having said his work as CoST champion starts right away.
“My government strongly believes that availability of adequate and efficient infrastructure not only promotes rapid industrialisation, but also improves the quality of the lives of the people. My work in this role begins right away,” the President is quoted as having said.
CoST works with government, private sector and civil society to promote the disclosure, validation and interpretation of data from infrastructure projects and in turn helps inform citizens and enable them to hold decision-makers accountable.
In addition, the statement also hails its former champion Vice-President Saulos Chilima for playing a key role in pushing the legislation reform. Former president Peter Mutharika appointed Chilima as CoST champion in 2015.
Former president Bingu wa Mutharika appointed then minister of Economic and Planning Development Abbie Shaba as the first CoST champion in Malawi in 2010.
Throughout the two-year tenure of former president Joyce Banda, the post was never restored, despite an appeal by the United Kingdom-based CoST International secretariat suggesting that she takes up the post.
CoST works in 20 countries globally with members from four continents.