Data Specialists Accuse Gov’t Agencies of Frustrating Information Flow

Data specialist have accused government agencies of aiding corruption through withholding required information.

The specialists believe that utilisation of data can bring transformation in management of infra structural projects.

The discussion comes a a follow up on yesterday’s Africa Anti-corruption day celebration where a number of citizens still question the possibility of a corrupt free nation.

Micheal Chengkuru, an Open Data Specialist with CosT Uganda notes that automation of data is one of the ways to fight corruption since it reduces on the levels of human interference.

However , Chengkuru mentions that despite putting platforms like the Government Procurement Portal, a digital platform, government agencies have made it irrelevant by submitting partial information and way out of time.

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He says,” You find that an agency will submit information of an awarded tender after the process is through, infact with some you find information will stop at the bidding stage while others submit a bid two days to it’s deadline.”

Gilbert Sendugwa,the Executive Director Africa Freedom of Inform Center points out that the automation of data entry is supposed to help citizens appreciate value for money which in the past has been spent on transporting documents .

“There a significant issues of concern where 400million Uganda Shillings would be spent on transporting documents .”

Sendugwe further accuses some government agencies of raising suspicion for corruption in their failure to submit data.

Statistics from a report launched yesterday for instance indicates that the Ministry of Health comprising of 20 Agencies , has 6 of those without data entry into the portal.

“Now , these agencies have run contracts and have got work going on , it’s just with impunity that they have failed to comply well knowing the requirements and having capacity to comply . This is where I question whether the impunity is because they have things to hide ,” Sendugwe stressed.

The specialists notes that willingness to collect and submit information by public agencies is the biggest challenge in data transparency .

To avert this , they advised that there is need for policy frame work that enforces these requirements.

They further called upon the public to utilise the information published on the government procurement portal for analysis and research into the expenditure of money on infrastructure projects.

While commemorating the Anti-corruption day yesterday, one of the key strategies the Inspector General of Governed shared going forward , was involving every citizen through sensitisation and education in the fight against corruption.

Micheal believes that automated data is easily accessible and can be put in lay man language for all to keep truck of the their revenue expenditure.

By Shifrah Kwagala

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