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Corruption Perceptions Index 2022 confirms the detrimental effects of systemic corruption in Sri Lanka

Colombo (LNW): The latest Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) compiled by Transparency International (TI) was released today. The CPI scores 180 countries and territories around the world based on perceptions of public sector corruption. The scores reflect the views of experts and surveys from the business sector. The CPI is calculated using data from 13 external sources, including the World Bank, World Economic Forum, private risk and consulting companies and Think-Tanks. The CPI uses a scale from 0 to 100, whereby 100 is considered very clean and 0 is considered highly corrupt. 

Sri Lanka’s score in the 2022 CPI stands at 36 out of 100, one point lower than the previous year, which was 37, and two points lower than from 2020 – 2017 and 2014, where the CPI score remained stagnated at 38. Sri Lanka ranks at 101 in 2022, along with Panama, Albania, Kazakhstan, Serbia, Ecuador, Peru and Thailand. Over the past 10 years Sri Lanka’s CPI score has remained relatively the same, from the highest being 40 in 2012 and the lowest being 36, which is the score this year and was the score in 2016. The top countries on the Index are Denmark (90), Finland (87) and New Zealand (87) while South Sudan (13), Syria (13) and Somalia (12) remain at the bottom of the CPI in 2022. Types of public sector corruption and related criteria captured in the CPI encompass bribery, diversion of public funds, effective prosecution of corruption cases, adequate legal frameworks, access to information, and legal protections for whistleblowers, journalists and investigators. 

According to the Transparency International Secretariat in Germany, corruption levels remain at a standstill worldwide, with most of the world failing to fight corruption, illustrated by 95% of countries making little to no progress in the CPI since 2017. TI further notes that though governments have claimed they would tackle corruption, only few have taken concrete action, leading to pervasive corruption, coupled with crackdowns on civic space that have aggravated the situation.  

Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) notes with grave concern that Sri Lanka too demonstrates the same lack of progress in terms of resisting corruption, coupled with suppression of civil society, culminating from a lack of political will to change the system, even amidst the crippling effects of kleptocracy on the country’s economy and on the quality of life of citizens. TISL urges the Government to recall how Sri Lankans of all walks of life came together in protest against those who were responsible for the bankruptcy of the nation, understanding the very close connection between corruption, poor governance, the country’s economy and their day to day lives. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on which the Government is depending to resuscitate the fallen economy, also emphasized the need to reduce corruption vulnerabilities, by improving fiscal transparency, public financial management and a stronger anti-corruption legal framework. 

While the Government is in critical need to attract foreign investments, tourism and other income generation methods along with debt restructuring, foreign aid and other support from the international community to be able to secure the essentials for the people, it is paramount that the trust in the Government, the legislature and the public sector be restored within and outside of Sri Lanka.  

TISL also recalls the essential anti-corruption reforms that it urged the Government to implement to revive the economy, none of which stand implemented as at this day. TISL reiterates that strengthening the parliamentary oversight on public finance, ensuring transparency and accountability in public procurement, de-politicizing the public sector, auditing and reviewing the State-owned Enterprises and strengthening law enforcement are some examples of critical and urgent action that are necessary if Sri Lankans are to fight corruption and usher in a true system change. TISL notes that the only way to restore public trust would be for the government to fulfill these requirements in action rather than in words.   

TISL also calls on all Sri Lankans to pioneer the cultural change that is essential for a systems change. TISL urges citizens to resist corruption and uphold personal integrity at all times, adopting a zero-tolerance policy to corruption in work places and businesses, fulfilling civic responsibilities, using the right to information, participating in governance, keep demanding critical reforms and voting differently and wisely at the upcoming elections.   

Full Corruption Perceptions Index 2022: www.transparency.org/en/cpi/2022

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