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Corruption: Canada Drops 4Pts, US Drops 3Pts; Saudi Improves 5Pts, Pakistan Drops 3Pts, Angola Jumps 7Pts

DESPARDES Analysis — Many countries in the Asia-Pacific region (Pakistan is included in the regional ranking) see economic openness as a way forward, however, vibrant economic powers like China, Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines and others continue to struggle to tackle corruption.

Tackling the relationship between politics and big money is a must to have any chance of ending corruption and improving peoples’ lives, says Transparency International (TI) in its 2019 Corruption Perceptions Index Executive Summary. (Download the Report here)

The report highlights opaque political finance and lobbying, economic openness and weak civil rights.

TI’s analysis suggests reducing big money in politics and promoting inclusive political decision-making are essential to curb corruption.

The TI ranked levels of perceived corruption in governments (state + political setup) across the world on the basis of 13 data sources from 12 specialized institutions.

Pakistan has received a score of 33 out of 100 which puts its ranking at 120 out of 180 countries assessed — better than the Philippines though — still the assessment is a five-year low — and lower than last year’s 117.

The report for Asia-Pacific includes Pakistan in the region.

“To have any chance of ending corruption and improving peoples’ lives, we must tackle the relationship between politics and big money. All citizens must be represented in decision-making,” says Patricia Moreira, Managing Director Transparency International (TI).

The Asia-Pacific’s summary points out that many countries in the region see economic openness as a way forward, however, governments across the region, from China to Cambodia to Vietnam, “continue to restrict participation in public affairs and keep decision-making out of public scrutiny.”

“Given these issues, it comes as no surprise that vibrant economic powers like China, Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines (34) and others continue to struggle to tackle corruption.”

While the report has not been specific why Pakistan slipped by three points, some independent observers are split on lack of drive or overdrive against corruption.

One highly successful businessman complained the rate of getting things done in the public sector has gone up to 6 percent — from 3 percent.

One observer says reforms to crack down on corruption has been the stumbling block — due to expediencies such steps if any have run into snags. “That’s the perception”.

The TI index is based on measuring perception using a mixed bag of positive and negative determinants:

TI ranks countries “by their perceived levels of public sector corruption”. Their experts’ assessments and opinion surveys determine the level of perception of corruption in public sector to score and rank countries.

According to TI:

Canada dropped four points since last year. Low enforcement of anti-corruption laws is evident in the recent case against SNC-Lavalin, a Canadian construction company, which allegedly paid US$48 million in bribes to Libyan officials.

Saudi Arabia improved by four points since last year due to anti-corruption drive. “However, its score does not reflect its dismal human rights record and severe restrictions on journalists, political activists and other citizens.” Saudi Arabia takes on the presidency of the G20 this year.

Angola jumped seven points in this year’s CPI following a change of regime in 2017. The Angolan government introduced a set of governance reforms to crack down on corruption. The country has recovered US$5 billion in stolen assets. “More needs to be done to strengthen integrity and promote transparency in accounting for oil revenue.”

The United States drops two points since last year to earn its lowest score on the CPI in eight years. This comes at a time when Americans’ trust in government is at an historic low of 17 per cent,17 according to the Pew Research Center.

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