Bangladesh performs better on Graft Index | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 24, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 11:53 AM, February 24, 2018

Editorial

Bangladesh performs better on Graft Index

More to be done

It is indeed good news that Bangladesh climbed two spots (index score is out of 100 where a higher score is better) in the global Corruption Perceptions Index 2017. Of course that's nothing to write home about since we scored 28 out of 100, where the global average is 43. The index is recognised worldwide and Bangladesh's rating was based on eight globally reputable survey sources. We did better in the 2017 index because there were positive perceptions on the country's march forward on digitisation, including e-procurement.

Bangladesh's ranking would have improved markedly had we been able to tackle corruption better. The government should do more to fight high-level graft and ensure accountability of public institutions. There should be zero tolerance for land grabbers. There still exists refusal of the political elite to even acknowledge the existence of graft which must be corrected, and changes should be brought about to make the Anti-Corruption Commission more effective—giving it the tools to take on powerful interests involved in graft in the financial sector.

All this of course has had a negative impact on the country's image which is perhaps why Bangladesh scored second last among all Saarc countries with only Afghanistan trailing us, a country dogged by civil war and strife for decades.

What all this points to is that we need to do much better before Bangladesh is considered to be a country taking concrete steps to tackle the sticky issue of graft. We have to be serious about empowering the ACC to go after corruption wherever it is occurring. Again, the ACC alone cannot tackle graft; it will require sincerity and cooperation of other state bodies and that is only possible if there is commitment at the policy level.

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