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Kamala Sarup: Corruption Is 'Rampant' Worldwide

Corruption Is 'Rampant' Worldwide


By Kamala Sarup

Chairman of Transparency International, the Berlin-based watchdog on corruption, said corruption was crippling the global battle against poverty. He said, ''Corruption is 'rampant' worldwide, draining public funds and hitting economic policy.''

TI vice-chair Rosa InÃs Ospina Robledo continued, "Some donor countries have begun to wonder whether to provide aid to countries perceived to be corrupt", and have sought to use corruption scores to determine which countries receive aid and which do not."

She said, "Across the globe, international donors and national governments must do more to ensure transparency in public procurement by introducing no-bribery clauses into all major projects."

"If we hope to reach the Millennium Development Goal of halving the number of people living in extreme poverty by 2015, governments need to seriously tackle corruption in public contracting." Giving figures, she said with government expenditure on public contracting amounting to close to US$ 4 trillion worldwide, the amount lost to bribery is at least US$ 400 billion per year.

"Globally corruption in large-scale public projects is an obstacle to sustainable development as it results in major loss of public funds needed for education, healthcare and poverty alleviation," she added.

Globally 60 countries score less than 3 out of 10 in the TI's Corruption Prevalence Index indicating rampant corruption. In South Asia, Bangladesh scored less than 2, is perceived to be among the most corrupt. Among the 146 countries surveyed, Sri Lanka was ranked 67 with a CPI score of 3.5, India and Nepal stood at 90 (2.8), Pakistan at 129 (2.1), while Bangladesh was ranked 145 (1.5).

The report points out that corruption is rampant in public services across the region and impinges directly on everyday life. Across South Asia, the state has a monopoly on the delivery of critical public services such as potable water, health, education and power.

Report further said, "Access to public services was found to be an important issue for a large proportion of the population in all five countries, especially in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The finding implies that the poor in these countries face the danger of exclusion from access to public services due to the high artificial barriers, economic and otherwise".

The number of people below the poverty line, unemployment and market price have further complicated the situation in South Asia. The governments in the region have to fight within itself against corruption and also against bad governance. It must also fight against poverty, which provides a fertile ground for the criminals.

The authorities have to take a stern step against corrupt leaders. We are just waiting for the day when politics would become stainless but there is little hope of it.

Speaking to this scribe in New Jersey, Hari Kozalawaski said. "Bad governance and poverty, political instability, political violence, underpaid civil servants and unresponsive state institutions are inevitable consequences of corruption in South Asia.

In combating corruption, Anti-corruption efforts must be targeted for the long-term, and must be realistic and achievable. Anti-corruption campaign should focus on those responsible for the misuse of public funds," he said.

Jamuna Karki, a common person, stresses, "We want the corrupt persons to be punished. How about declaring a war on poverty or un-employment or inflation or under-paid workers? Corruption is deep rooted in South Asia where crime and corruption is rampant and the perpetrators are mostly brutal in their act, so most people are fed-up about this situation.

Recently, the donor community, raised concern over issues including crisis in governance, rampant corruption and poor implementation of development projects. "If only our leaders were 'literate' and honest nothing can stop us from becoming a developed country," Karki argued.

There is financial instability, legal uncertainty or increasing crime in South Asia. The so-called leaders should know corruption prevents the efficient allocation of resources and is a disincentive to foreign investment. Having a negative effect on economic growth and development, everyone is suffering from corruption. Eradicating corruption at all levels in the bureaucracy should become a priority.

In every culture, political and economic systems need justification. This involves acceptance by the general people, which will happen only if people see the systems as efficiently serving their needs. If South Asia enhances its capabilities in aid productivity and utilization, and curb the misuse of the funds it would not fall into debt trap so easily.

Financial loot by simple revenue officials to high officials and ministers has made the country poor and individuals rich. The government must be serious and pay due attention to this malady.

Decentralization, open economy and competition, transparency in all areas of government practice is the most effective instrument to control corruption but In fact, to fight against corruption and getting control over it is an arduous task.

*************

(Kamala Sarup is editor to http://peacejournalism.com/ )


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