The Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolitan Assembly (STMA) has joined the Infrastructure Transparency Initiative (CoST), to promote transparency in its governance system.
The Assembly is the first sub-national government under the Open Government Partnership (OGP) to be admitted by CoST, which demonstrated the assembly’s seriousness to the OGP agenda.
The Metropolitan Chief Executive (MCE) of Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolis, Mr Anthony K. K. Sam, made these known at a press briefing to announce the admittance of the assembly into CoST.
He said STMA sent an application to CoST last year in line with its plans to implement a commitment in the Second OGP Local Action Plan, which focused on the development of Information Platform for Public Infrastructure (IPP) portal.
Mr Sam said that the platform would help to disclose data on public infrastructure projects in the metropolis with the programme officially beginning this year, while plans were far advanced to develop the technological innovation.
The MCE said CoST was the leading global initiative promoting transparency and accountability within public infrastructure.
He said its approach focused on encouraging data disclosure on infrastructure projects, the turning of data into information and putting issues of concern in the public domain.
The MCE noted that citizens would be empowered with information on how money was being spent on public infrastructure, and citizens could demand more from decision-makers to ensure broader sector reforms to build trust among the people.
The Vice Chairman of CoST, Prof. George Ofori, observed that his outfit welcomed STMA as the latest member to the initiative, joining others around the world, who have seen the benefits CoST could bring to citizens, the private sector and government.
He said regardless of the different contexts, members of CoST had enabled action to be taken on poorly planned infrastructure projects.
Prof. Ofori gave examples that included enabling a US$3.5 million saving on upgrading a major road in Ethiopia, which provided a life line to hospitals, schools and the local economy or helping to cancel a project on the Belize Bridge, Guatemala, which saved the potential miss-appropriation of US$5 million.
He said STMA applied to join CoST as part of its efforts to implement transparency and accountability in public Infrastructure commitment in the second OGP local action plan.
Prof. Ofori disclosed that STMA was one of four African local governments under OGP’s sub-national programme.
According to him, as a sub-national member, STMA had developed two local OGP action plans, to be opened to civil society which also included several high impact open government commitments.
Prof. Ofori said the plan was been implemented from 2018 to 2020 and was prepared through a rigorous participatory process involving all relevant stakeholders from government, traditional authority, civil society, the media and private sector involving 1,200 citizens, including the marginalised groups, who were directly engaged during the four-month co-creation process.
He disclosed that CoST’s current predictions were that US$94 trillion was needed in global infrastructure investment by 2040 but might not continue due to corruption, mismanagement and inefficient in the sector between 10 per cent to 30 per cent.
The Chief of Essipun, Nana Kofi Abuna V, asked the people to show interest in projects being executed in their communities or else they could go to waste.
FROM PETER GBAMBILA, SEKONDI