OC report picture March 17Africa Freedom of Information Centre (AFIC) in partnership with the Open Contracting Partnership and Hivos are pleased to present the Open Contracting in Uganda: A Scoping Study. This report presents the state of (1) disclosure of open data, documents, and information about the planning, procurement, and management of public contracts; (2) participation and use of contracting data by non-state actors; and (3) accountability and redress by government agencies or contractors acting on the feedback that they receive from civil society and companies.

The study aimed to:

i.    Document current levels of openness in public contracting in target systems;
ii.    Map key stakeholders and their capacities and enthusiasm for advancing open contracting; and
iii.    Develop of recommendations on realistic targets and use cases for open contracting moving forward.

This study found that Uganda promotes open contracting as reflected in the legal and policy environment, infrastructure, and human resource initiatives. Within the top leadership, there was political willingness to promote open contracting. However, this willingness has yet to translate into total commitment and action. It also found that there is competence to implement open contracting initiatives especially around proactive disclosure of contract information since the launch of the procurement portal.  Public participation needs to be enhanced.

The overall finding of this assessment is that Uganda has the potential to implement open contracting initiatives, considering that large quantities of contracting data are proactively disclosed through the government procurement portal. Issues regarding existing policy, data capacity, and civic engagement should be urgently addressed to institutionalize open contracting. Goals should be aimed at achieving early success and gaining demonstrable benefits with respect to improving service delivery, and the government should strive to build a sound foundation for sustainability over the long term.

A number of recommendations were made, including having the government, particularly at the top executive level, fully commit to open contracting; tasking a government body like the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority (PPDA) to champion open contracting; and creating awareness among public officers, citizens, and the private sector on the benefits of open contracting. Commitment from the top executive level will pave the way for more opportunities for open contracting in the private and public sectors.

On the whole, it was noted that although the Government of Uganda is implementing a number of initiatives on open contracting, there is lack of effective coordination and direction. Thus, it is important to establish leadership to champion open contracting in a structured and coordinated manner.

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