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Corruption Perceptions Index 2016: Papua New Guinea still scores below average

Date Posted: 26.01.2017

The Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) 2016 has ranked Papua New Guinea 136 out of 176 countries with a score of 28 out of 100. The CPI scores countries on a scale of zero to 100, with 100 being perceived to be “very clean” and zero perceived to be “highly corrupt”.

For several years running Papua New Guinea has failed to make the changes needed to bring itself from among the countries seen as the world's "most corrupt". Countries emerging from wars and civil strife have made great advances in the CPI while PNG remains where it has been for years. Timor Leste in the Asia Pacific region has leapt up the index by 7 points from scoring 28 out of 100 in the 2015 CPI to 35 out of 100 this year. If Rwanda, an African nation torn by genocide and civil strife a few years ago, is also able to achieve a score of 54 out of 100, Papua New Guinea, as a nation, must critically ask itself what it must do to be at least as well perceived as Rwanda.

Given PNG's current low spot on the CPI, the government and citizens alike, need to give serious thought about why this is so. "We believe that unkept promises and failures to protect national assets would be among the reasons we have not been ranked higher. The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) was promised and it has still not been delivered. K8 billion from trust funds have gone missing and our government have no sign of any plans to recover it, " said Transparency International PNG Chairman, Lawrence Stephens.

PNG faces the issue of corruption at all levels of government, from the issuing of local permits to the enforcement of laws and regulations. There is little or no accountability for many of those who fail to follow the rule of law in dealing with state assets and decisions. Legal loopholes, delaying tactics and lack of political will facilitate domestic and cross-border corruption. Many offenders enjoy scandalous levels of impunity while average people are deprived of basic services because of corruption.

Good things are happening

The Government of PNG has taken steps to improve our ranking and to promote accountability and transparency in the nation's development. Most recently, the Government passed laws to fight money laundering and terrorist financing activities. This removed PNG from the Financial Action Task Force greylist. Other notable initiatives by the government include PNG's engagement in the United Nations Convention Against Corruption, Open Government Partnership and the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative.

What needs to be done

In order to improve on the CPI, PNG's public institutions must be more open and transparent about their work and their decision-making. More needs to be done in strengthening and supporting integrity institutions that enforce best practices and regulations with a view to reducing corruption and promoting good governance. Equally important is that citizens need to demand accountability from public officials and speak up and report corrupt dealings with the public and private sector. Through the 2017 National Elections, Papua New Guineans have the opportunity to make things better for themselves by exercising their rights to vote accountable leaders. It is hoped that the much talked about APEC meeting in 2018 will have anti-corruption as an agenda high on its priority list.

The CPI reflects the views of observers from around the world including experts living and working in the countries evaluated. It is based on a combination of data collected by 12 reputable organizations globally. The information on PNG was sourced from five surveys: Bertelsmann Foundation Transformation Index 2016, Political Risk Services International Country Risk Guide 2016, World Bank Country Policy and Institutional Assessment 2015, Economist Intelligence Unit Country Risk Ratings 2016, and Global Insight Country Risk Ratings 2015. 

Read more at http://www.transparency.org/cpi2016

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