A report of Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) titled ‘Corruption in Service Sectors: National Household Survey 2015’ released today said some 67.8% households became victims of corruption last year while some 58.1% had to pay bribe at an average of Taka 4538.00. While the rate of corruption and harassment (67.8% versus 67.3%) in 2015 remained almost same in comparison to 2012, however, the households had to pay additional 1500 crore taka compared to 2012.
The most corrupt sectors identified in 2015 survey are: passport (77.7%), law enforcement agencies (74.6), education (Government and under MPO) (60.8%), BRTA (60.1%), land administration (53.4%) judicial services (48.2%), and Health (37.5%)_. The burden of corruption is higher on the low-income households compared to high-income households. Some 71% respondents said they had to pay bribe, because, “if we do not pay bribe, we do not get service.”
Releasing the findings of the report today in the morning at its head office here, TIB said that the national estimates of bribery is around Taka 8828 crore, which is 0.6% of 2014-15’s GDP and 3.7% of national (supplementary) budget.
Md. Wahid Alam, Senior Programme Manager; Farhana Rahman, Programme Manager and Nur-E-Alam, Deputy Programme Manager of TIB’s Research and Policy Division combined presented the findings of the report. Presided over by Chairperson of TIB’s trustee board Advocate Sultana Kamal, the press conference was attended by Executive Director Dr. Iftekharuzzaman, Deputy Executive Director Dr. Sumaiya Khair and Director of Research and Policy division, Mohammad. Rafique Hasan.
Using the Community Series of Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS), TIB’s Research and Policy team conducted the survey through a three-stage Stratified Cluster Sampling method. Collecting data from November 1 to December 25 in 2015, the survey collected information on corruption and harassment covering the period from November 2014 to October 2015. An advisory committee comprising nationally and internationally reputed experts provided guidance to ensure quality and validity of this survey, conducted among 15,206 households. Data was collected from 10,783 rural households (70.6%) and 4,663 urban households (29.4%) covering 64 districts and Dhaka and Chittagong City Corporations.
Considering the importance and influence on people’s daily lives and a minimum level of interaction rate, a total of 15 sectors were included in this survey: Education, health, local government, land administration, agriculture, law enforcement agencies, judicial services, electricity, banking, tax and tariff, NGO, passport, gas, BRTA, insurance. However, based on data provided by respondents on various other sectors/sub-sector/institutions, a 16th sector “Others (WASA, BTCL, Postal service etc.)” was also reported.
Although the overall rate of corruption remained unchanged, corruption has decreased in land administration, judicial services, health, banking, NGO and other sectors but increased in local government, electricity and insurance. It was unchanged in education, law enforcement agencies, agriculture and tax and tariff sectors. Compared to 51.8% households that fell victim of bribery in 2012, the rate in 2015 increased to 58.1% in 2015, However, the rate of bribery is decreased in six sectors including health, judicial service and land administration. It increased in education, electricity and NGO sector. The rate of bribery in law enforcement agencies, agriculture, tax and tariff and other sectors is unchanged. Across location, corruption victimization is higher in rural areas in comparison to urban areas (62.6% versus 69.5%). Similarly, the rate of bribery is also higher in rural areas (53.4% versus 59.6%).
It should be mentioned here that this household survey does not have any connection with Transparency International’s (TI) Corruption Perception Index (CPI).
During the press conference Advocate Sultana Kamal decried that corruption has become way of life in Bangladesh and strict enforcement of laws are necessary to provide relief to the victims of corruption. For curbing the menace of petty corruption, Dr. Ifetkharuzzaman stressed on ending impunity to the corrupt by bringing them to justice, effective implementation of political will and ensuring effective role of service providing agencies, especially that of NIS institutions.
Aimed at measuring the nature and extent of corruption and harassment experienced by the households in getting various public services, the survey report also put forward a number of recommendations to prevent and control corruption. These included, among others: bringing corrupt people to justice; ensuring transparency and accountability in service-providing institutions by strictly adhering to code of conduct, enhancing participation and communication of local people in service sectors; arranging public hearing; providing penalty or reward for employees according to their performance, strengthening social movement to prevent corruption and increasing manpower, infrastructure, and logistics at various service providing institutions.
It may be mentioned here that he present Government made some specific commitments around enhancing good governance and curbing corruption in the election manifesto1, 7th Five Year Plan, and Perspective Plan. The Government has endorsed the UN Convention against Corruption and thus reiterated its commitment towards preventing corruption. The Government has also formulated National Integrity Strategy 2012, Right to Information Act 2009 and Disclosure of Public Interest Information (Protection) Act 2011 with a view to enhancing good governance and curbing corruption. These initiatives have created conducive environment for reducing and eliminating corruption. However, continued corruption and irregularities in different aspects of administrations are preventing the improvement in the quality of service sector scenarios.
This survey is expected to assist in taking forward the anti-corruption commitments and activities of the ruling party and their alliances. Besides, the findings of this survey will assist in taking appropriate measures according to the nature of corruption in different service sectors. The findings of this survey will also help the people become aware about issues related to corruption and mobilize the people to raise their voice against it, and reinforce the policy-level advocacy initiatives.