A pioneering global anti-corruption programme for the construction industry requires financial support totalling around US$ 20 million over the next three years to help it expand.

The Construction Sector Transparency (CoST) initiative is designed to bring greater transparency to construction projects by making public information like tender prices, variations, the final price and rationale for the project.

The project was launched in October last year following a three-year pilot scheme. The idea is to make it easier to scrutinise how money was spent as well as to deter bribery.

But in an open letter to world leaders, senior figures from the construction industry warned of the potential for missed opportunities amid an apparent lack of international financial support for the project.

A CoST spokesman said, “It is correct that our only current source of income is a grant from the World Bank for US$ 1.5 million over a three year period. We are currently in the middle of that period, so this funding will end in December 2014.

“Our only other source of income was a grant of € 205,000 (US$ 274240) from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Co-operation & Development that was available to us between September and December 2012.”

The spokesman said that Individual CoST programmes have had some success in raising funds at the national level, but the initiative has struggled at the international level.

“Our financial needs are approximately US$ 20 million over the next three years. This would enable us to expand the programme from the nine countries currently participating to 22. It would also enable us to establish regional technical support capacity and pilot a Construction Transparency Index, among other things.

New donor


“CoST is currently in discussion with a bilateral donor and it is possible that it will contribute € 1 million (US$ 1.3 million) over a four-year period, but this has not been finalised and is not guaranteed.”

However, the spokesman said CoST would not fold in the next six months at least. “The World Bank funds will see the programme run until the end of 2014, but its contribution is intended as start-up financing and is aimed at enabling us to generate additional income.

“If we don’t raise additional funds in the next six to nine months, we will have to reduce the scope of the programme. We would find it hard to admit new countries to membership and the degree of support that we could offer to participating countries will be seriously reduced.”

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