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23 February, 2018 00:00 00 AM
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Country up 2 places in graft index

Staff Reporter
Country up 2 places in graft index
TIB Executive Director Dr Iftekharuzzaman speaks at a press conference while releasing Corruption Perception Index 2017 findings at its office in the capital yesterday. STORY ON PAGE 16 Independent Photo

Bangladesh has made slight progress in curbing corruption in 2017, according to an international survey among 180 countries. However, there is little reason for cheer as the country continues to be the second worst performer after Afghanistan among the eight SAARC nations, Transparency International (TI) has reported in its latest Corruption Perception Index (CPI). On a scale of 0–100, Bangladesh scored 28 in 2017, which was two points higher compared to 2016 and one point higher than the score in 2013. Among the 180 countries in the CPI, Bangladesh was ranked 17th from the bottom, which was two notches higher compared to 2016, the TI report said.

The CPI 2017 findings were disclosed at a press conference at the office of Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) in Dhaka.

TIB executive director Dr Iftekharuzzaman, TIB trustee board member M Hafizuddin Khan and TIB adviser–executive management Prof. Sumaiya Khair were present.

Asked if the conviction of BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia in a corruption case had any impact on the index, Dr Iftekharuzzaman said the survey was carried out before the delivery of the verdict by a lower court.

“Her conviction is definitely a big message. But whether it has any impact on the corruption index or not would be reflected in next year’s survey. It would be appropriate because the case is still in a lower stage. However, one or two such incidents are not enough,” he added.

As per the CPI, Bangladesh still remains well below the global average of 43, which indicates moderate success in controlling corruption.

TIB attributed the possible factors behind the improved score and rank to the positive perception about the potential of legal, institutional and policy contexts, and impressions about benefits of digitisation including e-procurement.

As for the reasons for the country remaining at a low level, TIB attributed it to factors such as deficit of delivery against corruption; rare measures against high-profile corruption; the perception that political and government positions are a

means of enrichment; unabated grabbing of land, river and waterbodies; loan default, growing political control of contracting and recruitment business; embarrassingly high and unabated illicit financial transfers; weakening institutions of accountability; monopolisation of political space; deficit in the effectiveness and independence of Anti-Corruption Commission; denial syndrome; weakening rule of law; and shrinking media and civil society space.

Urging the government to take stern measures against the corrupt without fear or favouritism, Iftekharuzzaman said: “The prospect of doing better in CPI will depend on their application and enforcement. Corruption must be a punishable offence not only on paper, but in practice too.”

He stressed that strong political will to fight corruption was a necessity and institutions of accountability and rule of law must be allowed to function independently and effectively, without any partisan influence.

He also said that a conducive environment must be created for people, particularly the media, the civil society, and NGOs, to strengthen the demand for accountability.

As per CPI 2017, no country has scored 100 per cent. New Zealand and Denmark were on top with respective scores of 89 and 88, while Syria, South Sudan and Somalia ranked lowest with scores of 14, 12 and 9 respectively.

As per the latest index, two-thirds of the surveyed countries scored below 50, with an average score of 43. The best performing region was Western Europe with an average score of 66. The worst performing regions were Sub-Saharan Africa (average score being 32) and Eastern Europe and Central Asia (average score being 34).

The report said despite attempts to combat corruption around the world, the majority of the countries were moving too slowly in their efforts.

As in previous years, Bhutan was the best performer in South Asia with a score of 67, ranked 26th from the top in the global list, followed by India ranked 81st with a score of 40. Sri Lanka scored 38 to rank 91st, followed by Maldives at 112th position with a score of 33. Pakistan scored 32, securing 117th position, while Nepal scored 31 to be ranked 122nd, and Afghanistan ranked 177th with score of 15. For curbing corruption, TIB recommended robust access to information and inclusive development; increased space for citizens, media and civil society; and NGOs for effective voice and demand for accountability.

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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