Pakistan drops three spots on global Corruption Perceptions Index 2019

Updated 23 Jan 2020

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Pakistan was assigned a score of 32, a point lower than its score of 33 on the 2018 index. — Reuters/File
Pakistan was assigned a score of 32, a point lower than its score of 33 on the 2018 index. — Reuters/File

Pakistan ranked 120 out of 180 countries in the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) 2019 released by Transparency International on Thursday, slipping by three spots from the previous year's ranking despite increased anti-corruption efforts.

On a scale of zero (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean), Pakistan was assigned a score of 32, a point lower than its score of 33 on the 2018 index and well below the global average of 43.

The CPI ranks 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption, drawing on 13 expert assessments and surveys of business executives.

Know more: Can Pakistan’s economy survive without graft?

According to Transparency International Pakistan (TIP) Chairman Sohail Muzaffar, on clarification sought against the lowering of Pakistan’s score by one point on CPI 2019, the Transparency International Secretariat explained that many countries have not performed well this year.

Many developed countries including Canada, France, United Kingdom and Denmark have scored less than last year, though Denmark attained the first rank on CPI 2019.

In the index, the average score for Asia-Pacific is 45 out of 100, showing Afghanistan as 'highly corrupt' with a score of 16. New Zealand was on the top of the ranking in the region with a score of 87 followed by Singapore ranked fourth with a score of 85.

TIP Chairman Muzaffar said that the National Accountability Bureau under its present chairman has performed much better, and NAB was rejuvenated after it took various initiatives, including adopting the combined investigation team (CIT) system, in order to have collective wisdom in the conduct of inquiries or investigations on merit. NAB has collected Rs153 billion from corrupt elements and filed 530 references and its overall conviction ratio in the accountability courts is about 70 per cent, the statement noted.

Analysis shows that countries that perform well on the CPI also have stronger enforcement of campaign finance regulations and broader range of political consultation, a press release issued by Transparency International Pakistan said. Countries where campaign finance regulations are comprehensive and systematically enforced have an average score of 70 on the CPI, whereas countries where such regulations either don’t exist or are poorly enforced score an average of just 34 and 35, respectively.

“The lack of real progress against corruption in most countries is disappointing and has profound negative effects on citizens around the world,” said Patricia Moreira, Managing Director of Transparency International. “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.”

Countries in which elections and political party financing are open to undue influence from vested interests are less able to combat corruption, the analysis of the results finds.

“Frustration with government corruption and lack of trust in institutions speaks to a need for greater political integrity,” said Delia Ferreira Rubio, chair of Transparency International. “Governments must urgently address the corrupting role of big money in political party financing and the undue influence it exerts on our political systems.”

More than two-thirds of countries score below 50, with an average score of only 43. Since 2012, only 22 countries have significantly improved their scores including Estonia, Greece and Guyana. Twenty-one have significantly declined including Australia, Canada and Nicaragua.

Transparency International research shows several of the most advanced economies cannot afford to be complacent if they are to keep up their anti-corruption momentum. Four G7 countries score lower than last year: Canada (-4), France (-3), the UK (-3) and the US (-2). Germany and Japan have seen no improvement, while Italy gained one point.

To reduce corruption and restore trust in politics, Transparency International has called on governments to control political financing to prevent excessive money and influence in politics in addition to tackling preferential treatment to ensure budgets and public services are not driven by personal connects or bias towards special interests.

Governments should also manage conflicts of interest and address “revolving doors”; regulate lobbying activities by promoting open and meaningful access to decision-making and strengthen electoral integrity; and prevent and sanction misinformation campaigns.

They should empower citizens, protect activists, whistleblowers and journalists, reinforce checks and balances, and promote separation of powers, the watchdog has said.