Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Global Corruption Perception: Nigeria Slides Further

Nigeria emerged 134th out of the 178 countries assessed by Transparency International (TI) in the global Corruption Perception Index (CPI) released yesterday in Berlin, Germany, scoring 2.4 out of a possible 10 points in terms of public opinion on corruption.
In her latest position, the country slid four places from last year's position, which she was ranked 130th out of 180 surveyed countries and 121st out of the 180 nations in 2008. However, Ghana was ranked 62nd among the 178 nations, scoring 4.1, while no African nation was ranked among the top 20 nations in the detailed survey.

In Africa, Botswana came first in terms of public corruption perception, with a score of 5.8, while Somalia emerged last with a score of 1.1 and a global ranking of 178. Nigeria was ranked 28th among the 47 nations surveyed in the region.
Also, nine countries namely Ghana, Liberia, Gambia, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Benin Republic, Mali and Niger were ranked above Nigeria in the West African sub-region.

In the 2010 CPI, which is a measure of domestic, public sector corruption, Denmark, New Zealand and Singapore tied for first place with scores of 9.3. Unstable governments, often with a legacy of conflict, continue to dominate the bottom rungs of the CPI. Afghanistan and Myanmar share second to last place with a score of 1.4, with Somalia coming in last with a score of 1.1.

TI noted that response to global crises must prioritise zero tolerance for corruption. It also noted that with governments committing huge sums to tackle the world's most pressing problems, from instability of financial markets to climate change and poverty, corruption remained an obstacle to achieving the much-needed progress.

TI is the global civil society organisation leading the fight against corruption. The CPI is a composite index, drawing on 13 different expert and business surveys. Source surveys for the 2010 CPI were conducted between January 2009 and September 2010.
The 2010 CPI showed that nearly three quarters of the 178 countries in the index scored below five, on a scale from zero (perceived to be highly corrupt) to 10 (perceived to have low levels of corruption), indicating a serious corruption problem.

"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 Chair of TI, Huguette Labelle.

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 United Nations 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.

Where source surveys for individual countries remain the same, and where there is corroboration by more than half of those sources, real changes in perceptions can be ascertained.
Using these criteria, it is possible to establish an improvement in scores from 2009 to 2010 for Bhutan, Chile, Ecuador, FYR Macedonia, Gambia, Haiti, Jamaica, Kuwait, and Qatar. Similarly, a decline in scores from 2009 to 2010 can be identified for the Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Madagascar, Niger and the United States.

Notable among decliners are some of the countries most affected by a financial crisis precipitated by transparency and integrity deficits. Among those improving, the general absence of OECD states underlines the fact that all nations need to bolster their good governance mechanisms.

"The results of this year's CPI show again that corruption is a global problem that must be addressed in global policy reforms. It is commendable that the Group of 20 in pursuing financial reform has made strong commitments to transparency and integrity ahead of their November summit in Seoul," said Labelle. "But the process of reform itself must be accelerated."
TI called on the G20 to mandate greater government oversight and public transparency in all measures they take to reduce systemic risks and opportunities for corruption and fraud in the public as well as in the private sector.