Foggy Govt Construction Projects Costing Ethiopia Dearly: CoST

ADDIS ABEBA – Government handling of construction projects in Ethiopia has been criticized by a global initiative on accountability in public infrastructure on Thursday.

The organization, namely Construction Sector Transparency Initiative (CoST), hosted this week a validation event on various government-owned projects.

The issue of absence of documentation and records showing the sequential process of construction proceedings in the country has been lambasted by the agency.

Performance reports of at least eight major construction projects were presented to various government and non-government representatives during the one-day event.

Most of these construction reports had problems related to recording data, according to a study conducted by the Cost Initiative.

Ministry of Civil Service Office, Hawassa and Jinka Airport, Foreign affairs Conference hall, Adey Ababa Stadium and Urban integrated land information system building were among the eight whose reports presented on Thursday.

The initiative’s study shows that most of the government-owned construction projects have failed to be completed at their initially planned cost and time.

They don’t have recorded files that could show why they failed to carry out the projects on time or within the allocated budget, the study said.

The disclosure rate of various construction projects ranges from 30 to 78 percent.

No government institution manages to provide full of information concerning their construction project proceedings, it said.

The study finds a major information gap in the tender process, contractual agreements, procurement process, and service contact fee setup, among others.

The construction of the Ministry of foreign affairs’ conference room, for instance, has incurred an additional 57 million birr when it’s completed – increasing the cost from 147.8mln birr to 205 million birr.

The project had problems in design review, contract administration, and contract supervision, the study finds out.

“Similar trends are seen in other projects as well,” said Eyasu Yimer, Board chairman at CoST.

Eyasu said the government should hold a firm stance to tackle issues of transparency on public infrastructure.

A document or Information in such government projects should be recorded and kept for at least ten years, he said.

“But what we are looking here is the opposite. They don’t keep them for even two and three years,” he said. “This shows that there is carelessness from the government side on the issue”.

“This country is a country that has billion-dollar debt,” he said. “We should not tolerate such problems”.

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By Sisay Sahlu

Image: Adey Abeba National stadium construction project [File/Ethiosports]