• Tuesday, July 16, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

Nigeria still deep in corruption, ranks 149th in global survey

FCTA to seal government offices over N10bn waste debts

Transparency International (TI) has ranked Nigeria 149th position with a score of 25 out of 100 points on its corruption perception index (CPI) which gauges levels of perceived public sector corruption in 180 countries and territories around the world.

In the report, Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) emerged as the lowest-performing region on the CPI with an average score of 32, showing little improvement from previous years and underscoring a need for urgent action.

Transparency International’s corruption perception index scored 180 countries on a scale of 0-100, where 0 means a country is perceived to be very corrupt and 100 means it’s perceived to be very clean.

More than 120 or two-thirds (2/3) of those countries scored less than 50 and the average score was 43 definitely a failing grade globally. The report also revealed that corruption was rampant across the world in 2020 and it undermined the response to COVID-19, threatened the global recovery, and contributed to democratic backsliding.

“In 2020, the countries with the lowest perceived level of public sector corruption were Denmark and New Zealand with a score of 88, followed by Finland, Singapore, Sweden, and Switzerland. The opposite end of the index saw South Sudan and Somalia scoring just 12, making them the worst offenders,” the report stated.

Furthermore, it was revealed that despite some progress, most countries still fail to tackle corruption effectively, noting that nearly half of all countries have been stagnant on the CPI for almost a decade.

Read also: COVID-19: Worst crisis for children in 75 years – UNICEF

According to the report, the COVID-19 pandemic was not just a health and economic crisis but also a corruption crisis, which was prevalent across the COVID-19 response, from bribery for COVID-19 tests, treatment, and other health services, to public procurement of medical supplies and overall emergency preparedness.

As a result, 2020 proved to be one of the worst years in recent history, with the outbreak of the global COVID-19 pandemic and its devastating effects as reports of corruption during COVID-19 have reverberated across the globe.

“Reports of corruption have grown since the pandemic broke out and countless lives were lost due to the issue undermining a fair and equitable global response, In Nigeria, civil society organizations denounced reports of hoarding of COVID-19 palliatives89 by states and called on anti-corruption institutions to investigate the allegations,” it stated.

Transparency International noted that countries with high investment in healthcare tended to perform better in the index with corruption diverting money away from essential services while governments that saw higher corruption levels, regardless of economic development, tended to invest less in their health systems.

“To reverse SSA’s position as the worst-performing on the CPI, governments in the region must take decisive action, particularly in those economies already weakened by the ongoing economic recession stemming from COVID-19,” it recommended.

The report also placed Malawi and Zambia on a watch list as they scored 30 and 33 points respectively, with the hope that a change in government will drive improvement going forward.

“The mounting levels of corruption may be attributable to an inefficient national public procurement system, stronger commitment to procurement reforms and open civic spaces will support greater transparency and accountability,” it read.