In the annual Corruption Perception Index (CPI) just released, Sri Lanka has increased its score marginally by 0.1 from last year to reach 3.2 points and is placed in the 91st position among 178 countries. Last year Sri Lanka was placed at 97 among 180 countries.
The Index, which focuses on corruption in the public sector, is conducted by Transparency International (TI), the global civil society organization leading the fight against corruption. The CPI Index, though perceptional, has been accepted as the most recognized and often quoted international index on corruption.
Sri Lanka is clubbed together with six other countries – Bosnia & Herzegovina, Djibouti, Gambia, Guatemala, Kiribati and Swaziland – all with a score of 3.2. The score indicates that these countries continue to have a serious corruption problem in their public sector.
The Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), now in its sixteenth year, ranks countries in terms of the degree to which businesspeople and country analysts perceive corruption to exist among public officials and politicians. The 2010 edition of the CPI ranks 178 countries. It draws on thirteen different expert assessments and business surveys from eleven independent institutions. The vast majority of the 178 countries included in the 2010 index score below five on a scale from 0 (perceived to be highly corrupt) to 10 (perceived to have low levels of corruption).
Commenting on this year’s score, Mr J.C. Weliamuna, Executive Director of Transparency International said that for an increase to be significant, it should at least record an increase of 0.5 or above.
Making his observations on the Index as a whole, Mr. Weliamuna pointed out that the dictatorial regimes and countries plagued with internal conflicts are much worse in governance and therefore scored poorest in the Index. At the bottom of the list are Afghanistan, Myanmar & and Somalia (1.4), and Uzbekistan & Iraq (1.6).
In the sub-region, except for Bhutan (5.7), Sri Lanka’s neighbouring countries have failed to record a significant increase. India’s score is 3.3 while Maldives (2.3), Bangladesh (2.4), Pakistan (2.3) and Nepal (2.2) continue to be below 3.0.
Highest scorers in the 2009 CPI are Denmark, New Zealand and Singapore at 9.3, and Finland and Sweden at 9.2. These scores reflect political stability, long established conflict of interest regulations and solid functioning public constitutions.
“These results signal that significantly greater efforts must go into strengthening governance across the globe. With the livelihoods of so many at stake, governments’ commitments to anti-corruption, transparency and accountability must speak through their actions. Good governance is an essential part of the solution to the global policy challenges governments face today,” said Huguette Labelle, Chair of Transparency International (TI).
To fully address these challenges, governments need to integrate anti-corruption measures in all spheres, from the responses to the financial crisis and climate change to commitments by the international community to eradicate poverty. For this reason TI advocates stricter implementation of the UN Convention against Corruption, the only global initiative that provides a framework for putting an end to corruption.
“Allowing corruption to continue is unacceptable; too many poor and vulnerable people continue to suffer its consequences around the world. We need to see more enforcement of existing rules and laws. There should be nowhere to hide for the corrupt or their money,” said Labelle.