In Transparency International’s (TI) recently released Global Corruption Barometer (GCB) for the Asia Pacific Region, Sri Lanka was among the best performers in the region. The GCB is a public opinion survey that assess people’s perception of corruption, their experience of corruption and their willingness to speak up against corruption.
The Asia Pacific study was conducted in 16 countries between July 2015 and January 2017 where TI spoke to nearly 22,000 people across the region of which the Sri Lankan island wide survey accounted for just under 1100 participants. The overall findings of the GCB revealed that approximately 900 million people or just under one in four people across the region are estimated to have paid a bribe to obtain public services in the last year.
Of the 16 countries participating in the GCB survey, the respondents in China witnessed the highest increase in corruption against the previous year with 73 percent saying that the level of corruption has increased. Thailand was the least in the Asia Pacific region at 14 percent followed by Sri Lanka with 21 percent saying that the level of corruption has increased. Concerningly, across the region 77 percent of people felt that the level of corruption has stayed the same or increased, which illustrates that momentum is in the wrong direction.
49 percent of respondents in Sri Lanka said that the government is doing well in fighting corruption, whilst 23 percent say that the government is doing badly. In accessing basic services 15 percent of the Sri Lankan respondents said they have paid a bribe, by comparison 69 percent of respondents in India and 40 percent in Pakistan have said they have paid a bribe. On the other end of the spectrum in South Korea and Japan, it was 3 percent and 0.2 percent respectively.
Of the respondents who claim to have paid a bribe in Sri Lanka for a public service the police was identified as the most likely to be paid a bribe, which is consistent with public opinion across the Asia Pacific Region. The least susceptible were public hospitals, which is also consistent with the data from the region.
Encouragingly, 73 percent of respondents in Sri Lanka surveyed believe that “ordinary people can make a difference in the fight against corruption”. Furthermore 40 percent of those surveyed would be willing to report corruption even if it meant spending a day in court giving evidence.
The GCB differs to the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) which relies on the views of experts and reflects the perception of informed observers on corruption in the public sector and politics, whereas the GCB is a public opinion survey that offer views of the general public on corruption and its impact on their lives, including their personal experience with bribes.
Go to http://www.transparency.org/whatwedo/publication/people_and_corruption_asia_pacific_global_corruption_barometer to read the full report.