The Construction Sector Transparency Initiative (Cost) has spoken on the need for Malawi to improve on the value for money spent on public infrastructure by increasing transparency and accountability in the delivery of construction projects.
Country chairperson for Cost, Joe Ching’ani, told Business News this week that the initiative is designed to ensure an efficient and corrupt free construction sector in Malawi.
He was reflecting on this year’s national anti-corruption day commemorations with respect to the country’s construction sector.
Launched in 2012, Cost is a global programme which is also being implemented in countries such as Ethiopia, El Savado, Guatemala, Philippines, Tanzania, United Kingdom, Vietnam, South Africa, Zambia and Botswana.
It is designed to ensure an efficient and corrupt free construction sector in Malawi.
“Our initiative seeks to enhance transparency in public construction by ensuring that basic information on projects is disclosed to the public at key points throughout the project cycle, so that the public can interact with the procuring entities and seek clarification where necessary,” said Ching’ani.
He said between 2012 and 2013, the country saw projects with an estimated value of K433 billion being initiated according to a project registration exercise by the National Construction Industry Council (NCIC).
“As a player in the industry, I cannot completely brush aside the perception on corruption in the construction industry because even a study by Transparency International conducted in 2008 ranks construction as the sector most likely to bribe public officials, and contribute financially to politicians and political parties to achieve undue influence over policies, laws and regulations,” he said.
He said the study put global estimates of losses incurred in projects due to corruption in the range of $2 and $3 trillion per year.
He said corruption continues to lead to defective and dangerous construction building and road projects that easily collapse or break up.
Ching’ani said recent world events, such as the perishing of 1 127 people on 24 April, 2013, when a building collapsed in Bangladesh, have given the world a rude awakening on the evils of corruption and mismanagement in the construction industry.