Friday, June 21, 2024

Bangladesh improves in graft status

Though Bangladesh stepped up one position to 13th from the bottom in this year’s corruption index (CPI), it failed to come out from the country list of unbridled corruption, Transparency International (TI) said in a release yesterday.
On a scale from 1 to 10, the country has scored 2.7, only 0.3 points higher than last year. “The little improvement in the performance provides no scope for satisfaction as the country still falls into the list of the most corrupt countries,” Dr Iftekharuzzaman, executive director of TI, Bangladesh (TIB), said as he unveiled the index at a press conference at the Jatiya Press Club, on Thursday morning.
But he also said that the country would have performed better if relevant bodies like the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) were allowed to work independently.
Countries scoring below 3 on the scale represent existence of unbridled corruption in their societies. The global anti-corruption watchdog released the report in Dhaka as well as other countries simultaneously.
CPI is a composite index, a combination of polls, drawing on corruption-related data from experts and business surveys carried out by a variety of reputable independent institutions to assess the overall extent of graft in 182 nations.
New Zealand scored the highest, 9.5 out of 10, to top the 2011 list of least corrupt countries. Somalia and North Korea jointly became the worst scoring only 1.0 followed by Myanmar and Afghanistan that scored 1.5 each.
Among the South Asian countries, Bangladesh stands fourth following Sri Lanka (3.3) and India (3.1) after Bhutan. Bangladesh performed better than countries like Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Afghanistan and the Maldives.
Bangladesh was included in nine surveys for this year’s index, which covered the period between January 2010 and September 2011.
Dr Iftekharuzzaman expressed concern over eight points that are pulling back the country’s fight against corruption.
The points include controversial proposed amendment of the ACC law, culture of boycott and conflict of interest in Parliament, non-disclosure of assets by high-profile personalities, whitening of black money in the budget, amendments to public procurement and telecommunications laws, and partisan political influence on administration and other public services.
The report also pointed out seven points that helped Bangladesh make the slight progress. These are: reaffirmation of strong electoral commitment, formulation of Right to Information Act and Whistleblower Protection Act, establishment of Information Commission and Human Rights Commission, citizens charter in service delivery institutions, anti-corruption training in government institutions and formulation of implementation strategy of UN convention against corruption.
Countries like the USA, the UK, France, Austria and Belgium have scored less than 8.0, indicating that corruption remains a serious global problem. The USA has done worse than Qatar, Chile, Bahamas and Barbados.
TIB trustee board chairman advocate Sultana Kamal hoped that the government would consider the report as an incentive in the fight against corruption.
TIB trustee board member M Hafizuddin Khan was also present at the press conference.
TI, a Berlin-based global civil society group campaigning against corruption, has been publishing the report every year since 1995. Bangladesh was at the bottom on the TI scale, from 2001 to 2005. In those five years, it was ranked third, seventh, tenth, thirteenth and twelfth.

-With The Daily Star input

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