* Drops from 121st position on Transparency International’s rating

By Omoh Gabriel, Business Editor

LAGOS — Transparency International yesterday ranked Nigeria 130th out of 180 countries surveyed in the 2009 corruption perception index.

This shows that Nigeria’s rating has dropped from the 121 position it occupied in the index last year.

Transparency International Perception Index which was released yesterday in Paris, France ranked Nigeria in the corruption perception index with nations like Uganda, Nicaragua, Mozambique, Mauritania, Libya, Maldives, Lebanon and Honduras.

According to the ranking, Nigeria’s Corruption Perception Index which had a record of 2.7 in 2008 dropped to 2.5 this year. The confidence range which was put at 2.3-3 in 2008 dropped to 2.2-2.7 this year.

This implies that corruption is waxing stronger despite the involvement of several agencies of the Federal Government in the war against corruption.

The Transparency International report said; “The vast majority of the 180 countries included in the 2009 index scored below five on a scale from 0, perceived to be highly corrupt, to 10 perceived to have low levels of corruption. The CPI measures the perceived levels of public sector corruption in a given country and is a composite index, drawing on 13 different expert and business surveys. The 2009 edition scores 180 countries, the same number as the 2008 CPI”.

Continuing the report said “Fragile, unstable states that are scarred by war and ongoing conflict linger at the bottom of the index. These are: Somalia, with a score of 1.1, Afghanistan at 1.3, Myanmar at 1.4 and Sudan tied with Iraq at 1.5. These results demonstrate that countries which are perceived as the most corrupt are also those plagued by long-standing conflicts, which have torn apart their governance infrastructure.

“When essential institutions are weak or non-existent, corruption spirals out of control and the plundering of public resources feeds insecurity and impunity. Corruption also makes normal a seeping loss of trust in the very institutions and nascent governments charged with ensuring survival and stability.

“Countries at the bottom of the index cannot be shut out from development efforts. Instead, what the index points to is the need to strengthen their institutions. Investors and donors should be equally vigilant of their operations and as accountable for their own actions as they are in demanding transparency and accountability from beneficiary countries.

“Stemming corruption requires strong oversight by parliaments, a well performing judiciary, independent and properly resourced audit and anti-corruption agencies, vigorous law enforcement, transparency in public budgets, revenue and aid flows, as well as space for independent media and a vibrant civil society.

“The international community must find efficient ways to help war-torn countries to develop and sustain their own institutions, ” the report added.

According to the report, “Highest scorers in the 2009 CPI are New Zealand at 9.4, Denmark at 9.3, Singapore and Sweden tied at 9.2 and Switzerland at 9.0. These scores reflect political stability, long-established conflict of interest regulations and solid, functioning public institutions. Overall results in the 2009 index are of great concern because corruption continues to lurk where opacity rules, where institutions still need strengthening and where governments have not implemented anti-corruption legal frameworks.”

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