Sri Lanka shows only slight improvement in reducing corruption in 2017

(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –Sri Lanka has been successful in its efforts to reduce corruption in 2017 albeit slightly as the country improved its ranks by four notches on the 2017 Corruption Perception Index released on Wednesday by Transparency International, the global movement against corruption.

The Corruption Perception Index (CPI) ranks countries according to the perceived level of public sector corruption where Sri Lanka is ranked 91st out of 180 counties with a score of 38 rising by only two points from 2016 score of 36 representing the slow rate of progress. In 2016, Sri Lanka ranked at the 95th place among 176 countries.

The ranks are based on a scoring system that ranges between 0 (public sector perceived as highly corrupt) to 100 (public sector perceived as very clean).

Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL), the local chapter of the global movement, said it is concerned by the fact that Sri Lanka’s current CPI score of 38 is the same score that prevailed in 2014.

Speaking on the country�s performance in CPI 2017, TISL Executive Director Asoka Obeyesekere said, “A close analysis of Sri Lanka’s positioning in the CPI from 2012 to 2017 shows that despite the institutional strengthening of anti-corruption agencies following the 19th amendment, consistent failure in implementation has led to very limited progress.”

Sri Lanka has failed to show any significant progress in its CPI score year on year for the past 5 years – an increase or decrease of 6 points or more represents a significant change, TISL noted.

Obeyesekere added, that it would seem that the anti-corruption drive has limited momentum.

“Citizens still face corruption when trying to avail of essential public services, ranging from waste collection to school enrollment. Therefore, the limited change in the perception of public sector corruption (CPI) reflects the limited change experienced by people in their everyday encounters with the state.”

Progressive legal reforms such as giving citizens the right to freely access asset declarations of public representatives and the passage of the essential National Audit Bill have also been stalled in Cabinet, which is indicative of a lack of bureaucratic and political will, TISL said.

While no country in the Asia Pacific region scores a perfect 100, not even New Zealand or Singapore, the analysis revealed little progress across the region. Philippines, India and the Maldives are among the worst regional offenders, according to the global movement’s report.

Unfortunately, the results from the 2017 index also show that corruption in many countries is still strong and majority of countries are making little or no progress in ending corruption, the Transparency International said in its report.

This year, New Zealand and Denmark rank highest with scores of 89 and 88 respectively. Syria, South Sudan and Somalia rank lowest with scores of 14, 12 and 9 respectively. The Western European region performed the best, with an average score of 66, while Sub-Saharan Africa (average score: 32) as well as Eastern Europe and Central Asia (average score: 34) fared the worst.

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