In the annual Corruption Perception Index (CPI) just released, Sri Lanka has increased its score marginally by one point from last year to reach 38 points and is placed in the 85th position among 175 countries. Last year Sri Lanka was placed at 91st among 177 countries.
Although Sri Lanka managed to score one point more compared to 2013 it has failed to reach the score of 40 recorded in 2012. Sri Lanka slid down by 12 places last year.
”Since Sri Lanka has scored below 50, it is apparent that the country is yet among those who were unable to minimize the level of corruption in the public sector” said S. Ranugge Executive Director of Transparency International Sri Lanka.
In the 20th edition of the Corruption Perceptions 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.
The Corruption Perceptions Index is based on expert opinions of public sector corruption. Countries’ scores can be helped by open government where the public can hold leaders to account, while a poor score is a sign of prevalent bribery, lack of punishment for corruption and public institutions that don’t respond to citizens’ needs.
More than two thirds of the 175 countries in the 2014 Corruption Perceptions Index score below 50, on a scale from 0 (perceived to be highly corrupt) to 100 (perceived to be very clean). Denmark comes out on top in 2014 with a score of 92 while North Korea and Somalia share last place, scoring just eight.
Sri Lanka is clubbed together with eight other countries – Burkina Faso, India, Jamaica, Peru, Philippines, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, and Zambia – all with a score of 38. The score indicates that these countries continue to have a serious corruption problem in their public sector.
Among the South Asian countries Sri Lanka ranks second with India, Nepal (126), Pakistan (126) and Bangladesh (145). Only Bhutan (30) has fared better than Sri Lanka. In the Asia Pacific region Sri Lanka is ranked number 09th.
Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) believes corruption within the public sector remains one of the Sri Lanka’s biggest challenges, particularly in areas such as police, education, lands and political parties. TISL believes that public institutions need to be more open about their work and officials must be more transparent in their decision-making.
“CPI Index for 2014 for Sri Lanka gives a strong signal for Sri Lankan at a critical juncture where the entire country is ready for a presidential election. There is an increase demand in society to stop corruption and strengthen democratic institutions for good governance inclusive of Right to Information (RIT) and Independent Public Service. People will have to make a wise choice in electing leaders who are committed to irradiate corruption and promote good governance” S. Ranugge said.
“The 2014 Corruption Perceptions Index shows that economic growth is undermined and efforts to stop corruption fade when leaders and high level officials abuse power to appropriate public funds for personal gain,” said José Ugaz, the chair of Transparency International.
“Corrupt officials smuggle ill-gotten assets into safe havens through offshore companies with absolute impunity,” Ugaz added. “Countries at the bottom need to adopt radical anti-corruption measures in favour of their people. Countries at the top of the index should make sure they don’t export corrupt practices to underdeveloped countries.”