In the 2015 annual Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), which ranks countries according to the perceived level of public sector corruption, Sri Lanka has ranked 83rd among 168 countries. This is a marginal improvement on its 85th placed ranking in 2014.
The ranks are based on a scoring system that ranges between 0 (public sector perceived as highly corrupt) to 100 (public sector perceived as very clean). Two-thirds of the 168 countries assessed scored below 50. In 2015 Sri Lanka has scored 37 points, which marks a slight decline to the 2014 score of 38 points.
This indicates that from the perspective of business people and country experts, based on data sources from independent institutions specialising in governance and business climate analysis, the perception of the extent of corruption in the Sri Lankan public sector has slightly worsened.
The press release issued by Transparency International Secretariat does highlight that “in places like Guatemala, Sri Lanka and Ghana, citizen activists in groups and on their own worked hard to drive out the corrupt, sending a strong message that should encourage others to take decisive action in 2016”.
Transparency International Sri Lanka Executive Director Asoka Obeyesekere, stated that “the CPI results this year highlight the challenges Sri Lanka faces in converting anti-corruption rhetoric into an institutional framework that guarantees a cleaner, less corrupt country. The potential wider public dissemination of public servant asset declarations, the long awaited enactment of the RTI Bill and the government signing up to the Open Government Partnership (OGP) can yield dividends in 2016 if approached with a mindset that acknowledges the trust vested in public servants by Sri Lankan citizens”.
Sri Lanka is clubbed together with four other countries – Benin, China, Colombia and Liberia – all with a score of 37. Among the South Asian countries Sri Lanka ranks third below Bhutan and India. Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan ranked below Sri Lanka.
Denmark took the top spot for the 2nd year running, with Finland, Sweden and New Zealand making up the top four. North Korea and Somalia were ranked at the bottom. The biggest improvers this year are Austria, Czech Republic, Jordan and Kuwait. The biggest decliners are Brazil, Guatemala and Lesotho.
The overall CPI index has shown that people working together can succeed in the battle against corruption. This is substantiated by the fact that even though corruption is still rife globally, more countries improved their scores in the 2015 CPI than declined.
The Index, which focuses on corruption in the public sector, is conducted by Transparency International (TI), the global civil society organisation leading the fight against corruption. Countries’ scores can be helped by open government where the public can hold leaders to account, while a poor score is a sign of prevalent bribery, lack of punishment for corruption and public institutions that don’t respond to citizen needs. The CPI is the most widely used indicator of corruption worldwide.