News

Open data on infrastructure and other public procurement is essential to support investment and integrity

20 Feb 2018

Carta en español

Dear President Macri,

Cc: Laura Alonso, Head of the Anti-Corruption Office
Pedro Villagra Delgado, Sherpa to the G20
Laura Jaitman, Deputy of G20 Finance Track

 

As leading Latin American and global open data and development organisations, we are pleased to see the progressive agenda on inclusive growth and infrastructure that the Argentinian government has set for the G20. We urge that you make open and clean public contracting a key part of that agenda.

One in every three dollars is spent by governments on contracting with private companies to deliver vital goods and services to citizens such as roads, schools, and hospitals. It is also government’s number one corruption risk, particularly within the infrastructure sector given the complex, multifaceted and multi-year (often public-private partnership) projects. IMF research shows that there is on average a 30% efficiency gap between the money spent on infrastructure and its quality and coverage significantly reducing the impact of public investments on the overall growth rate of the economy.

With Argentina and the region’s economy gaining momentum and your government’s work on establishing a business-friendly environment, open contracting can be a vital tool to delivering better quality and value for money, more competition, job growth and improved public integrity.

The open contracting approach, and the Open Contracting Data Standard, can power the policies, mechanisms, and technology to ensure governments receive value for money on their investments and companies have a fair chance at winning government business. Effective feedback channels, smarter analytics and a transparent monitoring process can be used to engage business and citizens in improving the contracting process by monitoring investments. This accountability is essential to improve trust between citizens and their government.

Supporting open contracting could be a game-changer, signalling to local and foreign investors that Argentina is open for clean and responsible business. Argentina is uniquely placed to lead emerging economies in demonstrating the impact of more effective and transparent procurement with strong commitments on this topic at the May 2016 London Anti-Corruption Summit, and in its most recent Open Government Partnership action plan. G20 members such as Mexico and the UK are already publishing to the Open Contracting Data Standard while Argentina, Australia, France, and Italy  have made Open Government Partnership commitments to do the same. Argentina has joined Colombia, France, Mexico, the UK, and Ukraine as a member of the Contracting 5, a group of innovators and leading implementers of open contracting, that can provide guidance and best practice to other G20 leaders. Argentina can showcase its leadership on open contracting as it hosts of the International Open Data Conference this year.

So we urge you to champion implementation of open contracting in the joint declaration of the G20. This is also in line with existing G20 recommendations on Open Data for Anti-Corruption, the G20 High-Level Principles for Promoting Integrity in Public Procurement and Beneficial Ownership, the Business 20 Responsible Business Conduct and Anti-Corruption Policy Paper, and aligns well with the International Open Data Charter.

The eyes of the world are on Argentina in 2018 and this would be a powerful signal of the country’s own reforms and of its renewed global leadership.

Sincerely,