Corruption Perceptions Index 2018 shows anti-corruption efforts stalled in most countries
The 2018 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) released today by Transparency International reveals that the continued failure of most countries to significantly control corruption is contributing to a crisis of democracy around the world.
Transparency International said on Tuesday that Nigeria is still perceived as a country deep in corruption without clear policies to address the menace.
The anti-corruption campaigner released its 2018 Corruptions Perceptions Index (CPI) Tuesday, finding Nigeria has “neither improved nor progressed in the perception of corruption in the public administration in 2018.”
“Nigeria scored 27 out of 100 points in the 2018 CPI, maintaining the same score as in the 2017 CPI.”
In the country comparison, Nigeria ranks 144 out of 180 countries this year as opposed to 148 out of 180 countries in the 2017 CPI, the group added. Nigeria is thus still perceived as highly corrupt, and although the ranking shows that Nigeria moved up four (4) places, it only means that four other countries have scored worse while Nigeria stagnated.
The Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) aggregates data from a number of different sources that provide perceptions by the business community and country experts of the level of corruption in the public sector.
The report may receive another knock from the Nigerian government, which often castigated past reports of the organisation. President Muhammadu Buhari dismissed the 2017 findings of Transparency International, suggesting that the group’s findings were politically-motivated to deface his administration.
The president said his administration has done creditably well in stamping out corruption in the country, especially through its much publicised anti-corruption drive that has seen several politicians associated with the last administration of Goodluck Jonathan arrested.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, however, took a different approach to the 2017 report, which was released in February 2018, saying the government had taken it in good faith and would work to improve on its corruption perception by adopting some of the recommendations.
Transparency International, however, rejected allegations of bias in compiling its report, saying it follows strict aggregation standards which had earned it tremendous credibility amongst countries across the world in its 25 years.
In the case of Nigeria, the composite score consists of sources which include:
1. African Development Bank Perception Survey,
2. Bertelsmann Foundation Transformation Index,
3. Economist Intelligence Unit Country Ratings,
4. PRS International Country Risk Guide,
5. World Bank Corruption Perception Assessment,
6. the World Economic Forum Executive Opinion Survey;
7. World Justice Project Rule of Law Index and
8. Varieties of Democracy Project.
“All are impartial, well-respected, statistically significant and evidence-based sources,” the group said.
Transparency International in its 2017 report identified public procurement fraud as constituting a large chunk of corruption in public service and recommended immediate constitution of public procurement council as one of the ways to address the menace.
Some top administration officials responded by promising to establish the council promptly as recommended by the Public Procurement Act 2007. Over a year on, however, the council has not been constituted, and procurement remained enmeshed in suspected fraud.
“With many democratic institutions under threat across the globe – often by leaders with authoritarian or populist tendencies – we need to do more to strengthen checks and balances and protect citizens’ rights,” said Patricia Moreira, Managing Director of Transparency International.
“Corruption chips away at democracy to produce a vicious cycle, where corruption undermines democratic institutions and, in turn, weak institutions are less able to control corruption.”
The 2018 CPI draws on 13 surveys and expert assessments to measure public sector corruption in 180 countries and territories, giving each a score from zero (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean).
To view the results, visit: www.transparency.org/cpi2018
More than two-thirds of countries score below 50, with an average score of only 43. Since 2012, only 20 countries have significantly improved their scores, including Estonia and Côte D’Ivoire, and 16 have significantly declined, including, Australia, Chile and Malta.
Denmark and New Zealand top the Index with 88 and 87 points, respectively. Somalia, South Sudan, and Syria are at the bottom of the index, with 10, 13 and 13 points, respectively. The highest scoring region is Western Europe and the European Union, with an average score of 66, while the lowest scoring regions are Sub-Saharan Africa (average score 32) and Eastern Europe and Central Asia (average score 35).
CORRUPTION AND THE CRISIS OF DEMOCRACY
Cross analysis with global democracy data reveals a link between corruption and the health of democracies. Full democracies score an average of 75 on the CPI; flawed democracies score an average of 49; hybrid regimes – which show elements of autocratic tendencies – score 35; autocratic regimes perform worst, with an average score of just 30 on the CPI.
Exemplifying this trend, the CPI scores for Hungary and Turkey decreased by eight and nine points respectively over the last five years. At the same time, Turkey was downgraded from ‘partly free’ to ‘not free’, while Hungary registered its lowest score for political rights since the fall of communism in 1989. These ratings reflect the deterioration of rule of law and democratic institutions, as well as a rapidly shrinking space for civil society and independent media, in those countries.
More generally, countries with high levels of corruption can be dangerous places for political opponents. Practically all of the countries where political killings are ordered or condoned by the government are rated as highly corrupt on the CPI.
COUNTRIES TO WATCH
With a score of 71, the United States lost four points since last year, dropping out of the top 20 countries on the CPI for the first time since 2011. The low score comes at a time when the US is experiencing threats to its system of checks and balances as well as an erosion of ethical norms at the highest levels of power.
Brazil dropped two points since last year to 35, also earning its lowest CPI score in seven years. Alongside promises to end corruption, the country’s new president has made it clear that he will rule with a strong hand, threatening many of the democratic milestones achieved by the country.
“Our research makes a clear link between having a healthy democracy and successfully fighting public sector corruption,” said Delia Ferreira Rubio, Chair of Transparency International. “Corruption is much more likely to flourish where democratic foundations are weak and, as we have seen in many countries, where undemocratic and populist politicians can use it to their advantage.”
To make real progress against corruption and strengthen democracy around the world, Transparency International calls on all governments to:
- strengthen the institutions responsible for maintaining checks and balances over political power, and ensure their ability to operate without intimidation;
- close the implementation gap between anti-corruption legislation, practice and enforcement;
- support civil society organisations which enhance political engagement and public oversight over government spending, particularly at the local level;
- support a free and independent media, and ensure the safety of journalists and their ability to work without intimidation or harassment.