June 20th, 2017, MoEc Conference Hall, Kabul Afghanistan: CoST Afghanistan signed two MoUs on disclosure of project information with Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD) and Ministry of Public Works (MoPW). H.E. Abdul Satar Murad, MSG Chairman and Minister of Economy, H.E. Nasir Ahmad Durani, Minister of MRRD, H.E. Mahmud Baligh, Minister of MoPW, Representatives of governments, civil society and private sector participated in this event. The aim of MoUs are to enhance transparency and accountability in infrastructure sector through disclosure of project information and assurance report.

Base on these MoUs, the two Ministries are agreed to disclose projects information in accordance to Afghanistan procurement law, procurement procedure and other relevant laws using CoST Afghanistan standards and guidelines.

H.E. Abdul Satar Murad, MSG Chairman and Minister of Economy said: according to these MoUs the two ministries agreed to disclose project information on the basis of CoST Afghanistan data points. In addition, CoST Afghanistan, in return, is responsible to inform public about access to information from procurement entities.

H.E. Mahmud Baligh, Minister of MoPW added: MoPW wants to be fully engaged in this process and take responsibility to disclose project information using CoST Afghanistan standard and other accepted international practices. In addition to this, we are also required by Access to Information law to share project information with public. Unfortunately, we should acknowledge that the distance between government and people is increased due to lack of transparency and accountability and this is a good opportunity to minimize this distance by involving people in the decision making process, Mr. Baligh said.

Mr. Sebghatullah Karimi, the CoST Afghanistan National Coordinator: on the basis of these MoUs, the disclosure of information will be tested in a sample of projects and subsequently an Assurance Report will publish the result. The Assurance Report validates the accuracy of disclosed information and identify strengths and weaknesses in the entities. In addition, the purpose of these MoUs are to institutionalize the culture of disclosing information in the country, and involve public in the decision making process.

H.E. Nasir Ahmad Durani, Minister of MRRD said: MRRD honestly and fully committed to work with this initiative and I suggest that the CoST Afghanistan should have access to all MRRD project information.

In next step, the CoST Afghanistan selects a sample of infrastructure projects from these entities for Assurance Report. The Assurance Report team through disclosure of project information will try to identify strengths and weaknesses in the sector, offer useful recommendations regarding to fighting corruption, capacity building, procurement reforms and methods of increasing transparency and accountability.

About CoST:

CoST is a global initiative working in more than 18 countries around the world and coordinated with other initiative such as Open Government Partnership and Open Contracting Partnership, and all work together on disclosure of information and engagement of public in decision making process. This will build the government and public relationship and make the government entities credible to pubic.

Following a recommendation from the Monitoring and Evaluation Committee (MEC), The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, through Ministry of Economy joined the Construction Sector Transparency Initiative (CoST) in October 2013 and the national secretariat starts its work on July 2016. The Initiative identifies the weaknesses and strengths through disclosure of construction project information. CoST was launched as a global initiative in October 2012 and works in 16 countries around the world to bring transparency and accountability in publicly funded construction projects.