More than 2 million dollars in losses have been registered in the school feeding program in 2018, according to data from the Office of the Attorney General of Colombia.
To prevent corruption and counteract the diversion of funds in its school feeding program, the Office of the Attorney General of Colombia announced there is a project is underway that will allow using blockchain technology to improve transparency levels in the allocation of funds by the state for the school canteen program.
To reduce the theft of funds to be spent in the social program, the state entity itself is creating a proposal for an invention for the National University of Colombia (UNAL), which they hope will involve a blockchain network that helps minimize theft. This news was announced by the Blockchain leader at the Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution of Colombia, Mauricio Tovar.
Tovar said, during an interview with a local news portal, that the platform will use a protocol based on the Ethereum network and that it is currently in its final stages to be completed. Some performance tests are expected to be executed soon. He also added that project representatives believe that their platform can be set up for the first quarter of next year. This would benefit the program promptly.
Tovar added that this project had the participation of many national and international entities, which collaborated to speed up the anti-corruption tool.
“The Office of the Attorney General of Colombia leads the project, with funding from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), articulates the Fourth Industrial Revolution Centers of San Francisco (USA) and Colombia. The execution is in charge of the National University of Colombia. The collaborating entities are the Medellin City Hall, Colombia Compra Eficiente, the University of Berkeley, Confecamaras and Quantstamp”.
When referring to the benefits that the use of a tool like this would bring to the prosecutor’s office, Tovar added that it would ensure almost 100 % the use of the information in the bidding processes. It would also incorporate the use of Smart Contracts, which would help automate any process and transaction. An option that promotes the active participation of citizens to avoid possible cases of corruption and alert the authorities would also be added.
It should be noted that the entire new system to control the processes for the food program will be published in a domain that can be accessible to anyone, but in a safe and immutable way, without risks of being violated.
Millionaire Corruption in the School Feeding Program
According to some local media, in 2018 around 8.4 billion pesos have been lost in the School Feeding program as a result of corruption; this is equivalent to 2.4 million US dollars. Among the items that are running out of funds, the overbilling of food, delivery of products in poor condition and poor handling of money destined for schools run by the Colombian state are detailed.
During that year, the president of Colombia, Iván Duque, announced in September 2018 that he would adopt strong measures to stop the flight of resources, Amon these measures are the best financing processes, targeting areas of attention, smart contracting, among others. In this way, it is announced that now blockchain technology would complement these measures that would help prevent corruption.
Duque has stated on several occasions that he is committed to the use of blockchain in the country’s financial processes, which also demonstrates that this technology may also have other applications in administrative sectors of public jurisdiction.
“We are committed to blockchain technology defining Colombia, not only in the regional financial system, but also allowing us to be the leaders in mobile banking and digital banking in Latin America”, said the president of Colombia last April 2018.
Checking public data, Colombia’s school feeding program benefits more than 5.6 million children across the country, during the school period that lasts approximately 180 days a year.
By Maria Rodriguez