KABUL report on transparency and accountability on the National Infrastructure Projects has highlighted key challenges in implementation and disclosure of project information.
CoST, the Infrastructure Transparency Initiative in an international initiative aimed to strengthen transparency and accountability in publicly funded projects by disclosure of information.
According to the report’s findings, the Government of Afghanistan has prioritized 16 national infrastructure projects in the National Infrastructure Plan (NIP) (2017-2021) under the 1st Afghanistan National Peace and Development Framework (ANPDF) (2017-2021) with the estimated value of around six billion USD.
The studies show that none of the prioritized projects have been completed so far and likewise the information related to most of the projects was not disclosed publicly and proactively.
Dr. Karima Hamid Faryabi, Acting Minister of Economy and CoST Afghanistan’s MSG Chairperson pointed to the upcoming Geneva Summit in Nov 2020 on the Afghanistan’s 2nd ANPDF, said: “CoST Afghanistan has recently published a report on the 16 national infrastructure projects that were prioritized in the National Infrastructure Plan under the 1st ANPDF.”
She said the report highlighted key constraints in disclosure of information and implementation stage of projects with the specific recommendations for improvements.
As part of the report, the assessment of the disclosure of information indicated that only information of six out of 16 national infrastructure projects, have been proactively disclosed in the Afghanistan Government Electronic and Open Procurement System (AGEOPS), while the information of additional projects (10 projects) have not been proactively disclosed.”
Sayed Ikram Afzali, Executive Director of Integrity Watch Afghanistan and CoST MSG member said: “One of the key challenges in disclosure of infrastructure project’s information was lack of consistency and logical connection between contract level data and projects level data.
He said the findings showed there was no logical connection between contracts and projects. For example, while searching the Herat–Torghondi Railway project in AGEOPS system, he said 9 contracts with different names and codes will be appeared which show that the data is not consistent as there is no logical sequence between contracts of each individual project.
Similarly, the same problem has been spotted in other infrastructure projects which result in creating many challenges for users, especially the civil society, said Afzali. “Therefore, establishing a specific disclosure portal under the AGEOPS system for disclosure of infrastructure projects information and adopting the new disclosure standards, OC4IDS, could potentially alleviate these challenges and modernize the disclosure process.”
Sebghatullah Karimi, the CoST Afghanistan Country Manager, said: “In addition to the disclosure of information, the implementation aspects of the projects are also crucial. The findings of the report show that, none of the planned projects in NIP have been completed so far.”
He said out of the 16 projects, five projects have not been signed yet, 8 projects are under construction, and the details about the implementation of three projects have not been found in public disclosure portal such as AGEOPS”
The government of Afghanistan will endorse the 2nd National Peace and Development Framework (ANPDF) for 2021–2025 in Geneva on Nov 22, 2020. Thus, considering findings and recommendations of this research report could help ensure transparency and accountability in 2nd ANPDF and NIP.