“The countries which succeeded in minimizing corruption achieved it not only by imposing heavy fines and regulations but by relaxing rigid procedures and adopting simpler formats. These simple steps will pay rich dividends in the fight against corruption”, says TISL Executive Director J.C.Weliamuna.
He was addressing the staff members of the Department of Immigration and Emigration (DIE) at the workshop held at the Agricultural Research and Training Institute (ARTI) conducted by TISL.
“In early days when a person goes to renew his vehicle revenue license at the Motor Traffic Department or the Divisional Secretariat, he has to labor for long hours and undergo several hardships. To make life easier people tend to offer bribes and get the job done as soon as possible. But now procedures are very simple and if you have the necessary documents you can get the license in few minutes. Most important is that you don’t have to bribe anyone” he said.
He added that by reducing the time taken it not only benefits the people but also the country as a whole. Making procedures simpler also helps to minimize corruption.
“People say that you need a dictator to eradicate corruption. But it’s a myth. For instance, take some of the African countries. In the African continent most of the countries were governed by dictators. But today almost all those countries are poor and highly corrupted, he pointed out.
“This shows that introducing stern measures and strict punishments will not necessarily pave the way for eradicating corruption and improving good governance. Corruption can be minimized through innovative ideas and initiatives”.
He also pointed out that nepotism has become one of the major risks in Sri Lanka and it has increased corruption in the country.
He lauded the progress shown by the Immigration and Emigration Department to become the best government institution. “This was achieved through sheer determination and good practices of the staff.”
Lakshmi Jayatilleka – Director-General of the Commission on Bribery or Corruption, Gamini Wijesinghe – Senior Assistant Controller DIE, Saman Kaluarachchi – Training Manager DIE and Sadun Gunawardana of TISL also addressed the series of programmes arranged by TISL at the request of the Department’s Training Division. Under this programme held over a period of four weeks, 350 staff members are being trained on good governance, anti-corruption and financial integrity.